9 AM, the alarm rings and the first daily I’m awake message are already in MISC WhatsApp group. The karaoke of last night was a huge success and everyone had a good night’s sleep. Today we have only one company visit: the Bandung Command Center, which is within walking distance of the hotel. At breakfast everyone is already discussing their plans for the afternoon. The only thing that could possibly ruin the day is the predicted rain that we already saw the past days on Bandung.
After breakfast, everyone gathered at the lobby for the 10 minute walk. And with the guidance of the committee we were there in no time. We were welcomed and as common courtesy over here we took if our shoes before entering the Bandung Command Center. Inside it felt like we stepped onto the deck of the star trek enterprise bridge. A massive screen showed CCTV images of different streets in the city. In the middle, the ‘crew’ showed different applications that they use one a daily basis. For example, the citizen feedback application, GPS tracking of emergency services and the panic button app. The last one can be used by citizens if they are in an emergency situation. Once a week the major visits the room to check on the city status. After asking some questions about the different systems and of course taking a group picture (one more), We were already on our way back to the hotel before lunch time.
After that, we all split up in smaller groups. The group I (Rick) was in decided to make it a cultural day, starting with the mosque that was also within walking distance. Another group also visited the same mosque a bit later, where Joyce and Meike put on a burka to also enter the mosque. We continued our day trip towards the Paris Van Java shopping mall. The trip was however different from the usual mode of transportation. Because of the huge traffic jams, the way to go is by scooter. However since we most of us don’t have any experience driving a motorcycle, let alone in this traffic (believe us, traffic rules do not exist over here), we used the alternative named GO-JEK. This is an app like Uber, but with scooters. Soon after requesting the rides we received the first calls. That’s where we hit a language barrier. But by shouting out the street name, and with some help of bystanders ( good thinking Martijn!) we were all in no-time on our ways. All scooters took different routes, whereby none of the drives even considered driving relaxed. In a fast pace and with only inches between other vehicles we passed all traffic. After a while, we reached our destination one at a time, still with sweaty hands but all with a big smile on our face. It was really an experience to never forget. After a few pictures with the nice drivers, we went inside the shopping centre for some lunch.
The shopping centre itself was a bit of a deception. It all was very western (hence the name Paris Van Java), including the prices. So after an extensive lunch, we were planning out next destination. Still excited from the GO-JEK ride, we decided to try another mode of transportation: small vans that are used as a way of public transportation. After some confusing moments to get such a van to stop we were all in the seated on the small bench in the back. It must have looked very funny from the outside to see seven tall Dutch guys in such a small car, since all people outside were smiling and waving at us. The ride on the bumpy roads ended at the floating market. While some of us were still exiting the van, one person already bought tickets for all of us. However on our walk towards the floating markets it felt a bit strange that we bought tickets on a car park for an attraction we thought was free. With this in the back of our minds we walked straight through the entrance without showing the tickets, all looking a bit angry to the person who bought the them without thinking. But with good faith we decided to ask someone if we were scammed. Luckily this person didn’t laugh like the two persons at the car park, but pointed us towards a stand where drinks are sold. In the end it turned out that the tickets were legit and with a fresh drink in our hands we happy that the 20.000 rupiah per person (€1.39) was well spend.
On beforehand we found out that there was an infinity pool at the top if the hill bear the floating market. Since we are really used to swimming in infinity pools (Marina Bay Sands) we made our way to the top. With one guard following us on a distance we quickly walked on, while we saw no other people. From the distance it didn’t look like there was any water in the infinity pool. So at the top of the hill we asked another guard if it was open. With some hand signs and common Dutch words (towel is also handdoek in Indonesia), he made clear that it was indeed open. After pulling on our swimming shorts we headed to our private pool were we enjoyed the great view.
Although we had an extensive lunch, we were already getting hungry again. So with all employees staring at us we decided to leave and get some local food. Walking besides the busy road we only saw small local stands and after searching for a while we returned to the one that looked best. The family prepared some satay ayam and satay beef on a hot BBQ. The people were friendly and the food was delicious. The man even ran across the busy street to get some extra water for us, whereby he almost got hit by a car.
After the busy day we had a beer at a local pub to discuss the adventures with some other groups. It was nice to have such a great experience without being hassled or scammed. Best of all, the predicted rain did not fall. Now we wait for tomorrow to see if the food was really ok. All in all it was a great day!