Malang’s Car Free Day

Malang’s Car Free Day

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Malang a small town in East Java grows into a bustling town with lots of stressing traffic jams in strategic places. Once a week the residents of Malang need a refreshement. Every Sunday Morning in a legendary boulevard of Malang – Ijen Street, people gather in this temporary closed road to retreat from daily busy hours.

The twin roads with tall and huge palm trees along the sidewalks are closed from morning until 10.00 am. In this car free day people really enjoy their fun activities without any motor vehicles. They walk together in couples or groups, or ride bikes, otoped, bmx, or downhill along the streets. They also dress like people in 50s while parking their 20s classic bikes. People can enjoy various culinary sold along the sidewalks. It ranges from juices, oranges squash, french fries, barbeque sausages, candies, coffee, snacks, traditional culinary etc. Some second hand and new stuffs are also sold like clothes, souvenirs, Hot Wheels Car toys, sandals, shoes, carpets, pillows, glasses, CDs, etc. The traditional street musicians also perform their action with traditional musical instruments like gamelan (melodical Javanese instrument made from steel or copper) and kendang (Javanese percusion) mix with ex-plastic drum containers. An old beggar brings his huge snake to attract people giving the money for the feeding cost of his pet.

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Many communities or hobbiest use this event to gather and show their stuffs. Dog lovers put their small dogs in special side bags or backpackers, while they are walking every where in this car free day area. Mostly they are girls. The big dogs ie. Siberian Huskiy are taken a walk with straps or chains in their necks. People shout with cheers when the male dog meet the female dog and want to mate. Hamsters and guinea pigs lovers gather in the same place under the palm trees to share their pets in a bottomless cage or a wired cage. Snake lovers corner really makes people and tourists to take pictures and handle the tame snakes. Near this corner there is Musang (chivets) lovers area with the special kind of the chivets are Musang Pandan which in heat period will produce not smelly aroma like Pandan scent (a plant that the leaves are used for cakes aroma). Some amusements are able for the children in the centre of the area; a small bunny train that goes around in O- shape track, merry go round and the unique cart pulled by an etawa goat. Bartenders use this event to practice their bottle juggling around the crowd. The skateboarders get their new tricks improved along the smooth and empty roads. They can do oolie or noolie with lots of space.

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On that day there was a long March campaign from Water Resources Enginering Students of Brawijaya University Malang. They commemorated March 22nd’s World Water Day. They walk along the twin roads with some children to persude people to save water for life especially to preserve the “green” area and ask people not to throw the waste into Sungai Brantas – the local big river that split Malang Area.

Six days with busy hours of many cars that pollutate the air make people get stress and unhealthy. Car free day is a day to escape from those pressure of life. Moreover, people will enjoy their life with different ways and be reminded the important to keep the resources of the earth; like air, water, green trees, and any other components that are supporting each other.

/// Written by Gigih Dwiananto, Indonesia