Land of Thousands of Islands

After a 2-day journey, I arrived in Palu, Central Sulawesi (Indonesia) yesterday. My journey began on Saturday at 5 pm in Giessen. Via Singapore and Makassar it was also 5 pm until I landed yesterday.

Over the next few days, I will be visiting the Gereja Protestant Indonesia Dongala (GPID), a member church of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (ems) and home church of Junita Lasut, pastor of our Evangelical Indonesian Kristus Congregation Rhine Main (EIKG). The EIKG has been a congregation of the Protestant Church in Hesse and Nassau (EKHN) for many years. Junita Lasut and Jens Ballondo, Chairman of the Church Council, are accompanying me on this visit.

Even the journey there makes it clear how differently digitalization has progressed in the world. When I land in Singapore, it takes me just 35 minutes to get from the gate to the baggage belt. The entire entry process is electronic. You can apply for a visa online on the government website immediately after landing (or up to 3 days before entering the country from home). The passport is then simply scanned electronically and the gate to Singapore opens automatically. But even in Singapore you are not protected from technical problems with the plane. As there are problems with the loading flap, we wait an hour for our bags. But we are provided with water, fruit juices and cookies while we wait. Departure yesterday is just as uncomplicated. Quick baggage check-in and only an electronic scan of the passport on departure. The flight is fully booked with large groups of pilgrims who have just returned from Mecca. A cheerful and friendly atmosphere among the pilgrims.

A whole different world on arrival in Makassar, Indonesia. I first have to buy a visa on arrival for 500,000 Indonesian rupiah (about 30 euros). As only cash is accepted, I have to leave my passport and hand luggage behind as security and walk passing all the security, passport and customs checks into the departure hall to get cash from the only ATM. Apparently this happens regularly because they let me through and back everywhere with the words „ATM“. After what felt like half an hour, I was finally the last person in the immigration queue for foreigners.

I have to collect my luggage here in Makassar and then check in again for the onward flight to Palu. But first I have to fill in the customs declaration on my cell phone via the Internet. The corresponding printed form had just run out. Now I had hoped to get back to the departure hall with my luggage just as easily. However, this was not officially possible. I had to take a car shuttle that drove me once around the terminal to take me to the departure level. When I finally sat in front of the departure gate to Palu, I had to laugh inside: the ATM where I had collected the cash was right next to the gate.

Now I have arrived safely in Palu and am looking forward to the next few days in the GPID.


3 Antworten auf „Land of Thousands of Islands“

  1. Lieber Detlev, zum Glück bin ich schon länger im Ruhestand. Diese technischen Probleme hätten mich vermutlich überfordert. KOmmt gut zurück. Wir brauchen dich noch beim Pilgern in Frankreich.
    Ultreia! Michael

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