Saturday, August 21, 2010

Kepada Kepala Kelapa

In Jakarta, the best way to repair something is the cheapest way possible. This is not up for debate. Nowhere is this more evident than on the roads. It is not uncommon to see a newly filled in pothole revert back to its original pothole state within a week. This is caused by the repair men using the cheapest cement or tar/stone mixture that they can find in order to save money. A week later, they will repair the same pothole using the same material (in order to save money) yet again. This trend will sometimes repeat itself for weeks on end. Eventually, it will be filled in with a slightly more expensive material after the first 6 tries to save money (huh?) failed miserably.

Messed up roads are something that you just learn to live with in Jakarta. I never pay much attention to them except when it's raining and they turn into invisible land mines. Anyways, just a few days ago, I encountered a new groundbreaking, innovative and Eco-friendly solution to the pothole dilemma: fill them with COCONUT SHELLS.

To give you a little background, coconut shells in the tropics are always green on the outside, not brown like the ones you see in the supermarket as a child. There are stalls that sell a drink called es kelapa muda which literally translates to ice coconut young. They cut the top of the coconut off and put a straw and a spoon inside. You then drink the sweet young syrup and eat the white meat from the inside of your coconut glass. It is a refreshing drink, not to mention it looks like something they would drink on Gilligan's Island.

The es kelapa muda place around the corner from my place came up with a great way to kill 2 birds with one stone. They put their empty (young) coconut shells in the pothole directly in front of their establishment. Well, let me tell ya, that pothole has been filled and stayed filled for the last 2 weeks. The shells have defied the odds and have managed to outlast the average cement pothole repair. These people could be onto something huge. There are a LOT of empty coconut shells around town. Instead of tossing them in the ever growing garbage heaps, why not toss them in a nearby pothole? It is definitely better than having axle breaking holes in the road.

If you've never had an es kelapa muda, I highly recommend it. But make sure to have it in the coconut, not out of a plastic bag. After finishing your refreshing drink, have a look around for the closest pothole. If you are inclined to do so, throw it in and jump on it a a couple of times. You will be helping the environment and providing a civil service.

Use your kepala and reuse a kelapa...

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