“Mr. Donny, it’s been a long time since we met. Before you go to hotel, please, stop by for a moment at Solo Paragon. We can talk and drink coffee together!”, Mr. Arman short message while I was still in waiting room at Halim Perdanakusuma International Airport, Jakarta.
Mr. Arman….He is the husband of my client, a Bangladeshi who became an Indonesian citizen several years ago.
“Who are you with in Solo, Sir?“, I replied to his short message.
“I am with my second son, sir. I am waiting for your arrival, ok? ”He asked with a little forcefully.
“Okay, Sir Arman”.
On 17:30 hours, finally, Citilink QG 126 perfectly landed at Adi Soemarmo International Airport, Solo. In the end, I really canceled on going straight to Grand Amira Hotel by Azana in Pasar Kliwon area. I decided to fulfill Mr. Arman’s coffee drinking invitation.
Several years ago, before actively writing on this blog, I had landed at the same airport. It’s just that, at that time I was picked up by a friend with his car to city center. But this time, I would try a public transportation mode to downtown.
I slowly noticed that in the east of airport terminal building, there was a construction project for airport train station which was still half finished. “Finally Solo will have an airport train too“, I muttered. Salute with the development of Batik City*1.
Dark quickly acquired time, I canceled airport exploration. I prefered to immediately look for a counter which sell DAMRI bus tickets. I found that counter in hallway of eastern arrival hall, next to taxi ticket counter.
That afternoon the counter was quiet, even I only had one queue with a old woman. Behind me, there weren’t passengers waiting in line anymore. Based on information from counter staff, DAMRI bus would stop at its final destination in Tirtonadi Terminal. Towards Solo Paragon in Mangkubumen area, I was advised to stop at Solo Square, a shopping center in Laweyan area. Paid Rp. 25,000, I got a ticket to downtown. “The bus is waiting at its shelter, Sir” she told me.
I quickly walked down a corridor to airport parking area. Seen at the end of corridor, waiting for me a medium sized blue bus. I saw that old woman who was queuing in front of me had entered through the middle door. While the driver seemed to be waving at me to hurry up because bus was about to leave. Even though its seats weren’t full, the bus prioritized punctuality to immediately head to city which is about 15 km away.
The driver checked my ticket before I entered. I sat in the middle seat and soon bus slowly left airport. Riding along Adi Sumarmo Street, continued on Adi Sucipto Street and entered Slamet Riyadi Street. Passing several famous buildings such as De Tjolomadoe, Javenir and Purwosari Station.
Within 20 minutes, the bus started to stop at Solo Square shopping mall and I got off at the edge of Slamet Riyadi Street which is the city’s protocol road. I thought it would be better to have dinner before drinking coffee with Mr. Arman. Finally I stopped at street food stall, I sat down in an “angkringan*2” and ate some “cat rice*3” and some egg satay, shells satay and crackers. Enjoying ginger drink in angkringan was something I haven’t done for a long time. This habit wasn’t a matter of cheap price, but rather about taste and how to spend the night in Batik City.
“Mr. Donny, have you landed?“, Mr. Arman sent another short message.
“Yes sir, I am only 4 km from your place. I’ll be there soon, sir. Wait yes!”, I briefly replied.
I immediately paid for my menu and ordered an online motorcycle taxi to Solo Paragon Hotel & Residences. Within 10 minutes, I arrived and headed straight to lobby.
Entering the lobby, I could see Mr. Arman and Rishan (her 9 years old son) waiting at the door. I shook his hand and lightly hugged then we spent until midnight just talking, sharing and enjoying a cup of latte.
Thank you Mr Arman.
Thank you Solo.
*1. Batik City is the other name for Solo City or Surakarta City.
*2. Angkringan is a street food stall typical of solo city.
*3. Cat rice in Indonesia is known as Nasi Kucing. Namely, rice packets which is its size is a fist.