1. Have been in Surabaya since Thursday, except for a weekend trip to Tretes, a hill resort about an hour drive from Surabaya, waiting for the Customs to approve the re-export of my car back to Singapore.
2. At Surabaya, Freight Express, the local partner of Toll Global Logistics, is helping with the shipping of my car from Surabaya to Singapore. Last Friday, I followed Glenn Richardo and Rudy of Freight Express to meet with a Mr Yudi from the Surabaya Port Customs. After Glenn explained to Mr Yudi our requirement, Mr Yudi pulled out a printed document and explained to us in Bahasa (Glenn interpreted) the regulatory requirements governing the re-export of the car. After browsing through our documents, and after we explained to him the Carnet, he said Surabaya Customs did not receive the letter from IMI, which according to the IMI letter, a copy was sent to Surabaya Customs. According to the regulation, he said that the IMI should have included a Police permit for my self drive holiday in Indonesia and a travel itinerary. As I had already ended my trip, he agreed that it was pointless getting the Police permit. He lamented that Entikong Customs should have pointed this out. He said that he would consider approving the re-export if IMI issues a new letter that would address the issue of Police permit and include my travel itinerary.
3. On the same day, Diyah Yanuardani of IMI was so kind to write a new letter to Surabaya Customs supporting the re-export of my car. As Yudi was out for meeting the whole day of yesterday (Monday), we are still waiting for him to approve the re-export licence. Glenn hopes to catch him the first thing in the morning today. Once done, we could then proceed to stuff the car into the container, in time for the ship departure on 17 Dec.
4. Over the weekend, Li Hoon and I decided to take a short trip to the nearby hill resort of Tretes. We were exploring Batu but settled for Tretes as it was nearer. At about 700 m high, we were looking forward to the better and cooler air up on the hills at Tretes, as against staying put in Surabaya. A convenient weekend getaway for residents in Surabaya, Tretes (and nearby Trawas) has many hotels. The trip took 2 hours and we arrived at Tretes at about 1 pm. The traffic jam at the Sidoarja Mud Pool south of Surabaya slowed us down by about an hour. After scouting around, we checked into Royal Tretes View Hotel for 560 000 Rp (US$60), inclusive of breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner. We liked the view from the room and the friendliness of the staff (in the picture are Tanti and Ais, 2 of the very friendly ladies). Hotel looked busy and we were told there were 150 government officials there for a meeting.
5. It was reading, more scrabbles and just lazing around for the rest of the day. Food, unfortunately, was disappointing - cold and certainly not salivating. On the positive side, it had a 4 man band playing during dinner time, playing English and Indonesian songs. Not bad at all, while we ate and played scrabble.
6. Woke up early the next day to visit the nearby Kakek Bodo (literally mean Stupid Grandfather) waterfall; a short drive from the hotel. We were surprised to see the same band getting ready to play. We were even more surprised when it started to play at 6.30 am, blasting away the music from the electric guitars and the drummer happily banging away the drums. I was sure it was a very effective wake up call for all the guests in the hotel. I asked the receptionist why so early. She said it was to entertain guests when they had their breakfast. Thought it would do the hotel more good if it put more focus on food instead.
7. It was a 300 m easy walk up the hills from the gate to the 40 m high Kakek Bodo waterfall. Lots of trees and greenery along the footpath, and food stalls were been set up for the day. It was Sunday, and they must be expecting a good crowd. Young boys and girls were already there, with more arriving; mostly young couples. Looked like it was a favourite place for boys to bring their girlfriends. Swimming was not possible at the waterfall. However, the attraction had a swimming pool near the entrance, which already attracted a group of boys, playing in the pool with their clothes on. We did not loiter long at the waterfall, as there was nothing much to do other than swimming in the pool which we had no intention of doing.
8. On way back to Surabaya, we decided to take a route across the hills through Trawas, Mojosari, Pugging and Krian, bypassing Sidoarja Mud Pool. It was certainly a much more pleasant drive; a scenic drive across the hills and passing paddy fields, without having to contend with the frustrating slow traffic at the mud pool area.
9. We have put ourselves for flight out of Surabaya on Thursday, 2 days from now; keeping our fingers crossed that the customs procedure would be sorted by then.