As the moment drew close to travel to the South East part of the continent Indonesia my excitement too grew in the same pitch. The days prior to travel were hectic with dad’s ceremony, packing and unpacking things due to movement to my close friend’s house, setting up home, neck-deep busy schedules in the office with Training and co-ordinating with Indonesian Business and Travel, Visa and Hotel Desks. Alas! Struggled to not to miss on anything with respect to work chores and my travel was set to embark the island. It was a dream coming true though this is my second international assignment, first being in this role. All set to deliver Sanctions Training to Indonesian Sanctions Team. Loads of confidence and belief in me has not given any scope for me to have second thoughts as I have delivered the same to several batches in country.
For an international travel, my baggage was not ready till the morning of the journey date as I was relaxed on clothing part due to duration of my trip only being 5 days. Dumped few clothes into the suitcase and packed all the necessary documents and gadgets required for training and my mind started thinking about delivery techniques to foreign audience.
Reached airport and boarded the flight to Hyderabad at 5 PM and the wait has started as my next flight to Singapore is at 1 AM. The journey was smooth and reached Singapore by morning 7 AM, Singapore time. Then, my run started to catch the connecting flight to Jakarta. The dazzling Singapore airport with its duty free shops and spic n span cleanliness though the entire floor is completely covered with carpet did not allow me to spend some time as the gap between catching flights is very less. Finally, Landed in the Seukarno International Airport at 10AM (Indonesian time) . After collecting the baggage, straight away headed to foreign exchange counter and did not even check how much money he is giving and exchanged some dollars for immediate use for my taxi. Not aware of the blue bird taxi service from airport, opted for a premium service as they asked me whether I require taxi and I said ok, take me to Shanghri La. The receptionist at the taxi desk showed me the cost of my travel and I thought 375,000 is Indian 375Rs. Alas! It’s not so. I have realized this fact only after spending so much from my account balance and credit card.
Headed to Shangri-la’s warm reception and settled in a luxurious 5 star ambience took a warm shower and cuddled myself to the duvet for more than 4 hours. After a long rest, took steps to go around the city. Clueless about the city’ geography walked up to the hotel reception and checked for places around. Hotel staff has advised me starbucks (coffee shop) which is located in the next building. To my surprise, star bucks closes by 5 PM during weekends. Strange! Oh Time to keep families indoors! And some rest for staff too. Came back to hotel and treated myself to lamb biryani.
After a few photographs in the hotel lobby moved to the room and made some preparation for the next day’s training. As the sun basked its rays, woke up to the day and the lavish breakfast ranging from English to Indonesian served on the palette. Cinnamon croissants, apple pies, warm banana cakes , Indian snacks dhokla, samosa, omelettes, puri subji, Korean, Chinese dishes including yummy smoothies and fresh fruit juices offered a treat to the taste buds.
Booked a taxi to hsbc learning centre located in menar muliya which is 13 kms away from the hotel and completed security checks to reach my training venue. Met everyone in the office and delivered training. Ridwan and kiki accompanied me for lunch and I was not able to understand the longkong Indonesian dish. They assured me of a safe stay.
After a hectic training day took notes of the places to visit in Jakarta and headed to hotel to relax. Slept to the core and by the time I woke up it was past ten. Alas! Kiki was already waiting for me in the lobby along with her family. Wished everyone and started our journey to Monas, national monument of Indonesia. Weather was not so friendly as it was very sultry and humid.
Bearing the scorching heat, finished the visit and went to Jakarta international fair and picked up souvenirs. I was not able to understand the currency denomination and realized the value only after exhausting my entire credit limit. My shopping craving was not satisfied and took a taxi to pasaraya and shopped handicrafts. Flattered to the core for the vibrancy of the shopping malls and picked up lot of local stuff and finished my dinner there itself with chicken steak and steaming rice. The day came to a close and my eyes became heavy with sleep.
Third day in Jakarta – Criss cross narrow lanes, road side eateries, food stalls, open drainage system, pitholes, reminded me of an Indian metropolis. As I logged on to the work station from the 17th floor of wtc building I could only see the traffic maze and skyscrapers and nothing else, to feast my eye. Starbucks coffee shops are located at every mile of the city and coffee lovers can while away their time at any of these outlets .
My only nightmare in Jakarta was travelling in a taxi whose driver doesn’t know English and the route to my hotel. Else, it was a pleasant experience with nice people who have a warm and helpful nature. The return journey to india was little strenuous as I have got a seat near exit and loss of my baggage during transit.
Enjoyed the short stay in this urban metropolis.