Driving Medan Style

What to expect when stopping at traffic light while driving in Medan, Indonesia

Somebody is definitely trying to sell you some water, cigarettes or snacks and toys. This is an amateur act by the salesboys and easiest to rid off, you just wave your hand to dismiss them.

A group of underage children will come and crowd around the car to ask for money. You can rid of this by using the tactic above.

Somebody will try to do a one-minute sing-a-long show and of course, the entertainment is not free. You will have to pay if you appeared to be listening.

One will even hurry with a feather duster in hand and give your car a quick brush and then ask money for the vigorous labour. I am voting this as my most hated stunt because I can’t get them to not do it. Of course I sit scared in my car, praying the light will turn green soon.


There is one fellow who walked around the main streets carrying a plastic bag full of something (I never have the priviledge to peek what’s inside). When the cars stop, he will approach the fancy cars and ask for money. If any refuses to give, he will scratch the car using some tin or he will put nuts and bolts on the hood of the car which sometimes ruin the paint of the car.

So far, I have not heard of burglary or carjacking at traffic light yet. I think that’s a good thing.


6 Responses to “Driving Medan Style”

  1. 1 LB January 28, 2008 at 12:04 pm

    A very testing situation, when confronted by such activities.. Have to hope for the best, most times, like you said, and the lights turn green as fast as possible..

  2. 2 ecky January 28, 2008 at 12:04 pm


    If you are driving alone, you should prepare something for protection, pepper spray could be useful.

    Becareful ya, so many criminals happens on the street, especially if they see woman driving alone

  3. 3 Jientje January 28, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Good lord, that would scare the hell out of me, I hate it when somebody comes up to the car like that! They are not always very polite there either, scratching cars and all that!!

  4. 4 andiesummerkiss January 29, 2008 at 6:35 am


    It is a bit scary. Especially at night. Some of the street singers dressed punk-like with the hedgehog hairdress. Very intimidating.

    Dear Ecky,

    I have pepper spray, but I have never used it since my father got me. So I don’t even know whether it still works. I tried to look for some volunteer to test it on, funnily I can’t seem to find any …

    Dear Jientje,

    Not a pleasant thing huh. Plus, other people are not going to help you. You just need to get the hell out in one piece.

  5. 5 Giddy Tiger January 29, 2008 at 9:45 am

    That’s pretty scary, ain’t it? And you can do nothing about people like this? Not even report them to the authorities?

  6. 6 happysurfer January 30, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    They do it even on a busy street? Scary!

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