This early morning the fight between our digestive system and the spicy and questionable hygienic food continues. While some participants randomly disappear to go to the toilet, we do our routine buddy check and get on the bus to our first company visit, namely Transport System Solutions (TSS). Unfortunately Jasper couldn’t get on the four wheeled boat, since he was defeated by the food (luckily he seemed a lot better in the evening).
We arrived almost an hour early at our destination, which is a custom by now, as we overcompensate for the busy traffic of Bandung. We were welcomed by Gary and Bas (who is Dutch). After we introduced ourselves and our study tour, they gave a presentation about what they do, but most time was spent asking questions. TSS mainly provides level crossings for trains, which is already a very known technology. Most of what they do in the offices is testing every possible scenario on the tracks, so the systems themselves are always safe. During the tour we also found out that they oversee the rails in Rotterdam, we were surprised that this was done all the way from Bandung.
After the tour Gary and Bas guided us to a roof lounge across the street. From here we had a good view of this massive city, that didn’t look anything like the other major cities that we’ve been to. We quickly discovered that there was pizza on the menu, and since most of our stomachs graved for some western food, most of us ordered this delicious Italian dish. Obviously the kitchen was not prepared to handle such an order and could only serve out two pizza’s at the time, being limited by a small oven we assume. The pizza was quite good, but also quite spicy to the regret of our female study companions. Luckily Joyce learned that you can eat tissues to counter the spiciness, as she was chewing on one of these thin sheets of paper she found out that this in fact doesn’t work, who knew!
After the last pizzas were served and quickly devoured, we crossed the street again to arrive at our second company visit to Octagon, which was conveniently located next to TSS. Octagon specialises in VR and AR technology, obviously they had our full attention when they explained what they are working on and demonstrated their applications. It was very impressive how well the applications worked and also the augmentations looked very detailed and realistic. They had, for example, dinosaur cards that show an augmented 3D animated dinosaur when you point your camera at it when running their app. They also showed t-shirts and colouring books that work in a similar way. During a tour through the offices, some of us had the pleasure to test out the HTC Vive, which is the best VR goggles currently on the market. We were so hyped about their technology, that we bought some of their products from a shop that they had conveniently located at the entrance of the building. How could we resist with these low Indonesian prices.
While some of us were imagining all the possibilities of a VR headset, we drove back to our hotel. Unfortunately there was no time to explore these possibilities in our hotel room, since we were having dinner tonight at a restaurant called Atmosphere. With the entire group we walked to the restaurant, making sure we dodged all the random holes in the pavement. The three different countries we visited can easily be identified by the differences in their pavements. Singapore has mostly full pavements with clear crossings. The pavements in Malaysia sometimes suddenly cease to be without an apparent reason, only to appear again after a few meters. Also crossing is possible everywhere, just wait for the traffic to provide an opportunity. In Indonesia the pavement is more like a Swiss cheese, random holes are everywhere and also the occasional leg breaker is sticking out. The only way to cross the street here is to hold up your hand and make sure the traffic knows that they have to stop. Don’t hesitate, because they will continue to pass you if you are not walking. This walk to the restaurant demonstrated our skills of (somewhat) safely navigating the streets of Bandung.
Dinner in Indonesia is also quite the experience, as we are used to by now all dishes are served as soon as they are ready. However somehow they manage to serve some people the main course before the appetizer, while others receive them both at the same time and again others are still waiting to order their drinks. This is very characteristic for this country; there is a lot of cheap manpower, but efficiency is hard to find. But besides this, the food was great and there was a good atmosphere. We had a very enjoyable evening that ended in some people going to a club, some enjoying a cold drink in a bar and some crawling away in their bed hoping to feel well in the morning, because tomorrow we take the train to Jakarta.