Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crazy Week - Wednesday: Why it takes the entire morning for one meeting

The plan for this morning was to meet with the contractor who did the design for a mosque at UNP (Padang State University). But we didn't get a confirmation from him so we scheduled a meeting with someone at city planning. We stepped out of the angkot at her office and promptly got into her car. We were all very confused at this point and Andi tried to translate while talking with the official.
“Oh, we're going to KOGAMI.” (other side of town)
“Oh no, Pangeran Beach Hotel” (the other corner of town)
Turns out, the city official was invited to a KOGAMI seminar held at the Pangeran Beach Hotel and wanted to have our meeting there. We weren't going to refuse a ride back down to the city (well, we couldn't since we were already in the car) so we went along for the ride thinking we would end up at the hotel. Instead, she and her husband got out at the immigration office to apply for their passports and had their driver take us to the hotel. We sat around at the hotel for a while and then decided to crash the Kogami seminar.

The entire first floor of the hotel was full of government officials attending seminars. Many people go to these seminars just for the food. They always have a coffee break with some snacks and then a buffet lunch at the hotel. The lunch is a big deal. Very nice food. Some people (like us) even leave after lunch.

At some point during this seminar, I had this bright idea. We had heard about this national seminar for structural and civil engineers in Jakarta. But it's in the middle of the week and we were concerned about not having enough time to do soil investigations. I realized that I could stay behind in Padang and take care of the soil investigations with help from Fengky while Greg and Andi go to the seminar. We all thought this was a good plan so we started to look at the flyer for the seminar again. And then we heard back from someone we had been wanting to meet in Bandung. He replied to say that he would be in Bandung the day before the seminar and was willing to meet with us.

After many discussions and plan changes, we finally decided (a couple of days later) that all three of us would go to Bandung on Sunday. We would have a couple of meetings in Bandung on Monday. I would fly back to Padang on Tuesday while Andi and Greg goes to Jakarta and stay there until Thursday. We booked the flights on Friday and left two days later.

After crashing the seminar, we went around to look at some construction sites. We visited a senior high school that is built for vertical evacuation. The street that it is on is a small street so it is not accessible by angkot. Andi wasn't sure how far it was so we took a becak motor (PICTURE NEEDED). Greg and I were stuffed into the seat thing next to the driver. We tried to take a picture but it was difficult.

We visited a few more sites that day. It's really cool to be walking onto construction sites and seeing things happen. Really hope I get to do that more often when I get back to the States. This might be an advantage of working overseas, particularly in Asia. There is so much construction happening and people are more lax about letting other people onto construction sites.

1 comment:

Lauren said...

When I was in Brazil I got to walk around in some subway tunnels that were under construction while they were working. Really sweet. But upon return to MIT my professors were like "oh yeah that was kind of dangerous". Whatever, totally worth it. :-D