In a taxi today, we passed a sign for a Car Spa! And there were large black shiny cars being manicured and groomed by teams of fervent young men, carefully removing the residue of a hot dusty city from the metalwork. It made me wonder what other exotic treatments might be on offer – a bit of metal retempering, detoxing the oil sump, realigning its torque. I imagined the results, chilled out cars, fragrant and relaxed and ready to go back to the stresses and tensions of Jakarta traffic. The cars would have been treated to the sort of attention that is normally only tendered on racing cars in Formula One; they would emerge feeling just a little lighter on their tyres, zippier in their acceleration, nippier in their lane changing. They would feel like those cars in the adverts – out there on the open desert road, or the sweeping mountain bends.
In reality, they just got hoovered and polished, and they had to get back out there in the bumper to bumper gridlock. But car and motorbike washing and polishing is serious business here. Those that cannot afford a Spa are as lovingly washed down in a small stream or on the banks of a large river. I shall have to get the hose and bucket out when I get home I think; I am feeling very neglectful of our poor old car.