Banjarmasin & Martapura
Last Tuesday (07/22), a team of three – including yours truly – from The Office went to the city of Banjarmasin and Martapura to do an audit of a newly implemented loan origination system for The Company. I have set foot on the city before on 2005, so this trip is not exactly significant for me.
We took the earliest flight available from a budget airline, and landed on Syamsudin Noor airport around an hour and a half later. We were picked up by the Martapura Branch Manager and his wife themselves. I found out later that they were matchmade by my colleague who was traveling with me.
From the airport we visited the regional office of The Company. We said hello to the Regional Manager and the local brasses there and conduct an interview with the local IT staff about the LOS implementation. We found out that the system haven’t been implemented in the regional office itself, but it has been implemented on several other branches, including Martapura, the next item on our schedule. After the interviews, we excuse ourselves to go to our hotel.
The hotel we stayed was the same as my previous trip to Banjarmasin, the Swiss-Belhotel Borneo. This riverside hotel is a three star hotel with minimalist offerings. The published rate was around IDR 800,000. Somewhat high for its so-so service: lackluster rooms, mediocre offerings of food, and a lack of soundproofed windows – the traffic noise from my window is barely filtered. Its location is perhaps the foremost advantage. It’s located near the city’s markets and business district.
The second day, we made the first journey to the city of Martapura, most famous for its precious stones market. It was an hour drive away from Banjarmasin. Still nauseated from the one hour time difference from Jakarta, I barely was able to keep myself awake in the car along the way. The straight roads didn’t help much. Boring. We did the audit and went back straight to the hotel. This routine went on for the next two days.
On Wednesday night, I excused myself from a dinner invitation from the local brass of The Company to join my friend Andi’s invitation. He’s a fellow IS Auditor for The Company, recruited just six months after myself. He’s stationed there in Banjarmasin at The Company’s regional audit office. He’s been yearning for a post – any post – in Jakarta for sometime now, so he got a few stories to tell me. He took me to a traditional eatery, Lontong Kari. I forgot to ask him where the hell the location was, sorry. But I know it is situated in a house in a local residential district, complete with its wooden walls and such. It is so homey that we were required to take off our shoes before entering the eatery. The Lontong Kari consists of two pieces of triangular lontong or rice cake. There are options when ordering: lontong kari with a boiled egg, lontong kari with a piece of chicken, or combination of the two. Not wanting to have to use my hands to eat the chicken, I opted for the first. The portion of the lontong was generous, proven with the fact that I – still weary from influenza I acquired since the beginning of the journey – couldn’t finish my dinner. During the course of the dinner, we talked about Andi’s strive to get relocated to Jakarta.
On Thursday (07/24), we got a slight change of the regular work schedule when the branch manager offered us to guide us through the precious stone market across the branch. One of his staff used to be a precious stone dealer himself, so we got a knowledgeable guide in our hands. My colleague, Icha, maxed out several of her credit cards that day, while I only bought a 0.2 carat diamond ring for my beloved back home.
Later that night, Andi offered me another dinner invitation. Still struggling with my fever, I asked him if he could take me to a physician first. Gladly, he obliged and took me to a drugstore chain outlet with a resident physician. After obtaining the prescribed medicines, we took off for dinner. This time it was a cafe in the nearby mall. It thought it was my turn to foot the bill after all Andi’s help, so I did. We had a little chit chat there and after that we continued to Andi’s place. No, there was no funny business going on between me and Andi, I just wanted to see an HR document he received recently. Andi’s place is quite cozy, by the way. After that Andi dropped me back at the hotel.
We got back to Jakarta on Friday (07/25). We dropped by the branch manager’s home for a moment before we got to the airport. The flight took off quite on time and we’re safely back in our hometown. And that concludes our – perhaps also my last – audit trip.