What do you get if you cross two escalators, two limos and one VIP toilet? The King of Saudi Arabia’s visit to Indonesia, of course.
King Salman bin Abdul Aziz is used to a certain standard of living, meaning his arrival in Jakarta yesterday (Wednesday) was an elaborate affair.
After exiting his gold-clad plane, the king descended one of two escalators onto the tarmac.
His landmark visit is the first by a Saudi head of state to Indonesia in 47 years – and the locals were keen to make it a success.
If that meant accommodating his vast entourage – believed to include 1,000 aides – then so be it.
They also bowed to his request for a specially built VIP toilet in a Jakarta mosque, while 150 chefs are believed to have been hired to cater for the royal palate.
The king also brought two of his own Mercedes-Benz limos along, which explains why the total weight of his luggage is believed to be in the region of 500 tons.
On arrival at the presidential palace in Bogor, the king was protected from a sudden downpour by seven umbrella-wielding staff. He was also entertained with a marching band and a 21-gun salute.
King Salman, 81, received a warm welcome from Indonesian President Joko Widodo, who described the visit as “historic”, adding, “as the country with the biggest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia will always have a special bond with Saudi Arabia”.
The king’s nine-day trip to Indonesia is part of a three-week tour of Asia, aimed at boosting economic ties.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest oil exporter in the world, but is looking to diversify its economy.
King Salman said he hoped the trip would “contribute to the improvement of the bilateral relationship between our two countries”.
He has already visited Malaysia, and will move to to Japan, China and the Maldives after a planned holiday in Bali complete with rumoured stays in not one but five posh hotels.