I never imagined I would get the opportunity to travel to Jakarta Indonesia once again after my very enjoyable trip here in 2009, but here I am again.
I came here in 2009 as part of an IFC Doing Business Registry Practitioners workshop combined with a meeting of the Corporate Registers Forum (CRF) Executive Committee. We stayed at the Hotel Borobudur for the week and visited the Indonesian companies registry as well.
I had not really known what to expect from Jakarta but found I really enjoyed the friendly people, the constant movement and noise of the place along with the uniqueness of the experience.
I am back at the Hotel Borobudur and have some time to myself after a busy week of meetings with various officials about the place. This trip has included travel to visit the ‘one stop shops’ in Jogyakarta and Sragren. Both visits involved meeting with the one stop shop officials and then meetings with entrepreneurs to understand their experience of starting a business.
I arrived in Jakarta from Singapore on Sunday night and was met with the biggest immigration queue I have ever experienced. It took over an hour to get processed. I hold an APEC travel card and there was a moment of hope when I saw the APEC lane only to realise that is was not attended and I joined the rest of the crowd. After 15 hours of flying and layover in Singapore and an hour and a half to get in to the country and my luggage there was a tangible feeling of relief to get into my late model Mercedes ‘Silver Bird’ taxi. The wonderful airconditioning, bottled water and leather seats were a lovely welcome and gave some peace for the forty-five minute drive to the hotel.
I arrived at the hotel at 10:20pm and had a few hours sleep before getting up at 03:00 am and heading back to the airport to catch a flight to Jogyakarta. My drive to the airport (30 minutes) reminded me of the Transporter movies as my driver flew along in the Merc laughing about the absence of traffic at that time of the morning.
Despite the early start I actually missed my initial flight to Jogya due to confusion as to which of the three terminals my Air Asia flight departed from. I knew I had to meet my Indonesian hosts and US consultant colleague and that they were expecting me at 07:00 so I booked a flight on Garuda which got me in at 07:20, sent them an email (which I hoped they would get in time) and set off. The only ticket available on the flight was a business class one but at NZ$240.00 I figured it was worth it to avoid throwing the days schedule into disorder.
It was my first ever flight with Garuda and it was very pleasant. We flew on a Boeing 737-800 and despite the flight being only an hour in duration were served breakfast and coffee. I enjoyed the two pages of prayers, for Muslims, Hindis, Christians and Buddhists in the airline magazine for a safe flight… after the terrible crash in 2007 (the same flight and airport) it was nice to land normally on a beautiful morning.
I arrived in Jogya and was met by my Indonesian host pak (Mr) Irfan Adhitya. We had a good day meeting with officials and then having lunch with an entrepreneur who owned two restaurants, a gift shop, a petrol station and a cafe! The guy was a serial entrepreneur and a wonderful example of a passionate business person.
We then had a three and a half hour drive to Sragren. It was a great way to see a bit of Indonesia. My impressions were of the sheer number of people. The road between the two cities was literally lined with small houses, business and other buildings. The buildings were of very simple construction and a a number appeared to have just crumbles away. We were deep in rice paddy country and every where there wasn’t a building there was a paddy field. Rice growing appears to be very manual work and despite the use of hand tractors there didn’t seem to be any other machinery in evidence.
We stayed at a very pleasant and equally basic hotel in Sragren and I can honestly say I had one of the best sleeps in my life. I just crashed (due to the very early start and the travel the day before) and awoke at about 06:00 feeling rested and ready for another day.
Our pattern for Sragren was similar to Jogya and we meet with the one stop shop officials and then lunched with an entrepreneur. This one a fellow who operates an organic manure company for the organic rice producers. He produces over 100 tonnes a day so it was no small enterprise.
The offices in Indonesia are rather different from our own. Working in the public service is a desirable role and all public servants wear a uniform, it looks very militaryesque. The tradition on arriving is that once seated junior staff bring tea and finger food. The tea is black and very sweetened. The finger food a bit of a lottery…
We then drove to Solo (via a museum dedicated to Java man, once the earliest known human remains on earth until older ones were discovered in Africa).
Another pleasant Garuda flight, this time in economy but still with soft drinks and a snack box and back to the Borobudur.