“Jamsostek” is short for “Jaminan Sosial Tenaga Kerja”. Our destination was the branch at Selemba area. We got off the “angkot” by a busy road and walked a few metres into the building compound.
The building itself was an old one storey building sandwiched between newer multiple storeys building. Not old as in dilapidated and run down but as in if-it-was-in-KL-it-would-be-torn-down-to-make-way-for-new-ones. Even thought it was old, it was well maintained. The relatively fresh coat of paint made it looked respectable.
The wooden door opened to a standard setting of counters-and-waiting-chairs. There were three counters. In front of each counter were two chairs. The rest of hall were rows and rows of chairs for people to sit while waiting for their turn.
‘Their turn’, as I quickly discovered, was not determined by any numbers nor queue. When we arrived, Mutiara’s second friend, T, was already seated at the counter for her ‘turn’. L quickly sat on the second chair next to T. While waiting for the two ladies, Mutiara explained to the concept of “Jamsostek”. From what I understood, it was similar to Malaysia’s Employee Providence Fund (EPF).
Some time later the two ladies joined us. They discussed something. They were too fast for me to understand. Then Mutiara went to the counter to check how much money was under her name. It seemed that among the three ladies, L has the most. Unfortunately, like Mutiara, L, didn’t have all the papers with her.
After a little suggestion (or more like persuasion) from the other two ladies, L decided to get the papers and get everything done that day. So we left the “Jamsostek”. It was a hot noon. Surprisingly no “angkot” for our route passed by. Since time was of the essence – we need to return to the office before the counter closed – suggested that we take a taxi. Mutiara stopped a taxi. She sat at the front seat. I sat behind the driver with L on my left and T at the other window.
The girls were very ‘chatty’. I gathered that they haven’t seen each other for quite a while. Again, they were all too fast for me to understand. Besides, they weren’t using the formal Bahasa Indonesia, which made it even harder for me to comprehend. They girls were very animated, so much so, eventually the taxi driver joined the conversation.
Again, Mutiara noticed that I seemed to listen more than I seemed to talk. She told everyone in the taxi about my comprehension problem. Actually, even when I did understand the conversation, it was kind of hard for me to reply them. I had to construct my sentences in the formal Bahasa Malaysia, which I don’t really use except when writing formal letters. Had I used the my daily Malay, I doubt they would understand me as well as they did.
Anyway, we dropped L somewhere in an area near to her house. From the point where we dropped her off, she would have to take other public transport to actually get to her house. The three of us continued in the taxi and got off at a shopping complex, Gajah Mada Plaza. While waiting for L, we managed to squeeze in a little last minute shopping. As much as I dislike shopping, I needed to buy something for people back home.
Before we knew it, we were done shopping with plenty of time to spare. We headed to “Gloria Jean’s Coffees” near the entrance. The girls decided that we should have some drinks and seat at the coffee shop while waiting for L. I couldn’t agree more. I haven’t had any good chocolate drink since I arrived in Jakarta. The one I had in “Dunkin’ Donut” the previous had more sugar than chocolate. Without hesitation, I ordered a cup of hot chocolate (that came with a marshmallow). Mutiara ordered a glass of mango juice and T, a glass of what looked to me like an ice-blended. I “traktir” them. And to my surprise, everything cost only around IDR 42 000 (with my hot chocolate making half of the price). That would roughly converted to less that RM 15.00 which if in “Gloria Jean’s Coffee” Malaysia could probably buy my hot chocolate only.
I was finishing my heavenly cup of hot chocolate when L finally arrived. We took a taxi and made our way to the “Jamsostek” only to find that the counters were closed for lunch. Left with little choice, we went for lunch at the business complex next to the “Jamsostek”. The air-conditioned restaurant looked exclusive. It was the kind of restaurant that the waiter would greet you and ask how many people dining. Seeing the ‘look’ in the waiter face (except for L, we were more or less not dressed-up), I can’t help but spoke in English: “Table for four, please”.
There were plenty of empty tables. So we picked a table next to the window. I ordered “Nasi Uduk”. I can’t remember what the girls ordered, but they all ordered same kind of meal. Theirs arrived at the same time while I had to wait a little longer for mine. “Nasi Uduk” turn out to be something similar to Malaysian “Nasi Lemak”. Among the “lauk” was chicken (which I passed to Mutiara’s plate), egg, and vegetable. We had earlier told the waiter not to put “sambal” (sort of hot spicy side-dish). The rice was good, but unfortunately I couldn’t each much because the harmless-looking-vegetable was actually laced with burning-hot chillies.
After lunch, we returned to the office. Mutiara and I left the two ladies around 3pm. We made our way back to MP house. I had a 6.10pm flight to catch. I should be at the airport 2 hours before the boarding time to settle all the check-in and immigration stuff.
A short rest at MP house was followed by goodbyes. Mutiara and I hugged goodbye as if we were old friends. As I hugged her, I could feel her ‘trembling’. I knew, I should made it a quick goodbye, otherwise we would both broke into tears. And so I hopped into the taxi and left.