Thursday, September 18th, 2003 – Day 212 to Friday, September 19th, 2003 – Day 213

Thursday, September 18th, 2003 – Day 212

I met an English Guy last night who spoke of new travel warnings from the British foreign Office about Indonesia. Check out the warnings (dated 14 August 2003) here.

Some excerpts include:

We advise against all non-essential travel to Indonesia. A bomb exploded at the Marriott Hotel in Central Jakarta on 5 August. We continue to receive information that indicates terrorists are planning further attacks, including against Westerners, throughout the country. If you are already in Indonesia you should consider leaving if your presence is not essential.

If you choose to remain in Indonesia you should exercise extreme caution. There is a continuing risk of harassment of Westerners by fundamentalists.

I am surprised by its advice. Its hard to know but there are very few tourists about. The Japanese market here has collasped and many guesthouse listed in the lonely Planet have closed.

Anyway I took the bus back to Probolinggo. I was went a Brazilian girl. We went got a public bus to Surabaya. Again we were ripped off with the aid of the driver. A guy cam on with the official ticket book and wanted us to pay the 20,000 IR to Surabaya. The local price is between 8,000 and 10,000 IR. We refused and said we would pay later like everyone else. The driver was there but said nothing (it was his ticket book the agent had). The agent then said he would throw us off the bus and got VERY angry. I have never seen anyone as tough as the Brazilian girl when it came to negotations and bargaining but we decided to back down. Everyone is involved in the scam and all lie to you. They would rather kick you off rather than you paying the local rate.

I t was 2.00pm when we got to Surabya. Its a sprawling city and the bus station is 10km from the city centre. It was hard finding a public bus to the city. I had to go to the bus terminal exit and ask the guard to point out the proper bus when leaving. Good Man, as he did. Buses may not have destination signs on it.

There are no rip offs on the city or inter village buses. I paid the local rate of 2000 IR to get into town. The bus was not going to my chosen hotel (no one did) and its a massive city. I told the ticket seller to let me on a certain road. There are no road signs so you need advice. He did and I walked about 20 minutes in this hot stuffy city. Its the first big Asian city I have been in since I got to South East Asia and it was hard. Its impossible to cross the road without getting nearly killed. I booked into the Pavillion Hotel. Its not cheap at 66,000 IR but I needed the comfort and rest. I had to put on my pants last night because it was so cold. Tonight it will be so warm, that I will not wear any clothes.

I was so tired that I rested from 4.0opm to 6.00pm before walking around. Very busy city.


  • Population: 2,159,000

  • Language: Bahasa Indonesian

  • Industry: Shipbuilding, Heavy equipment, Food processing, Electronics

    Expots: Handicrafts, Funiture, Sugar, Coffee, Tobacco, Teakwood, Rubber

    Climate: Tropical

Surabaya is the capital of East Java, one of Indonesia’s main islands, and is Indonesia’s second largest city and port. With a 700-year history, it is one of Indonesia’s oldest cities. It is known as the “City of Heroes” because of its courageous role in the struggle for independence at the end of World War II.

Today Surabaya is a rapidly developing commercial and educational center. Some of its main industries are shipbuilding, heavy equipment, food-processing and agriculture, electronics, household furnishings, and handicrafts. It has outstanding universities, a famous zoo, and many recreational attractions in East Java’s mountains and along its coasts.


I walked down to Chinatown where a festival celebration was starting.

The Lonely Planet describes Surabaya as a hot and dusty crowded city with precious little to see (Lonely Planet, 1990, p. 288). Most interesting sights are located outside Surabaya.

I agree with this. I walked around for three hours and made no dent in this city. All of the pointed NET cafes were closed. I finally walked into a five star hotel and asked for tourist information (letting on I was a guest). They gave me some good amps and were telling me use there free Internet in the executive business centre. I was nearly going to put he pointed out a NET cafe on the map.

I headed down there and was there for three hours (for 10,000 IR) – A Bargain.

I then headed to China town. All the red lanterns were out and the streets closed off to traffic. There must have been 200 food carts there selling Chinese food and drink. You could hardly find two that were the same such was the variety. There was some sort of celebration but I was too exhausted to eat much there.

Its a hard city to like. Traffic is everywhere with no pedertinised crossings. You take your life into your hands everytime you cross the road. If if they are crossings, all the drivers ignore them. You need to be pretty fast and fit to pass any road without getting run over.

I also had a taxi driver shout at me for 10 minutes while walking. If he was just looking for business or something else, I do not know. I was in bed my 12.00 and listened to MP3’s. It was SO hot, that I found it hard to sleep.

Friday, September 19th, 2003 – Day 213

Its a VERY hard city to like. The public bus service is impossible to understand as most do not out destination signs or numbers on there bus. The heat and pollution is terrible and there is no central point to the city. Attractions are hours apart if you want to walk. The traffic is very bad and you risk your life everytime you cross the road.

I was up early and decided to find a Tourist Office to find out about whether there was bull racing on in Madura island this Sunday. To no avail. People said it had closed down. It was really hot at this stage. I am drinking two lires per day at the moment.

I decided to visit the Submarine Monument which is close by.

The sub marine monument is located in the bank of Kalimas River, on the east corner of Surabaya Plaza. The brief history of this Sub Marine was started a long time ago. The ship was called KRI Pasopati with the body number of 410. It was one of the elements of Indonesian Sub Marine Army Unit on the east region. This Sub Marine once belonged to the Russian Whisky Class and it was received by the Indonesian Government on December 15, 1962. In the National Indonesian Navy Force (TNI-AL), the Sub Marine of this kind has the main duty to destroy the enemy’s sea line (anti shipping), to do the spying activity, and to do the silent raids. When this Sub Marine dedicated itself in the National Indonesian Navy Force, this Sub Marine had done many operations to defend the Indonesian independence and even in the “Trikora” operation to gain Irian Jaya (at that time Irian Barat) back to its mother land. At that time, this Sub Marine was in the front line. Fourteen mediocre officers from TNI-AL had ever lead this Sub Marine as the commander. The last commander on this Sub Marine was the Navy Lieutenant Colonel (P) Imam Saki. This Sub Marine ended its dedication as the Indonesian War Ship (KRI) in 1994.

Indonesia has no modern submarines today because its water territory is too vast, comprising two-thirds of the archipelago’s total 5 million square kilometers, connecting over 17,500 islands. Operating submarines wouldn’t even be “better than nothing”.

It was only 4000 IR in and it was a short 20 minute visit. Nothing special.

I decided to walk to the main city tourist office. Its really confusing as there are no street signs and you are chancing your life as you try and cross roads. Surprise, Surprise as the main tourist office has also shut down. Tourism has been badly hit recently and I suppose they saw no point in keeping it open.

I was so hot and frustrated that I went into a MacDonalds for the first time since I left Ireland. Don’t worry, as I didn’t eat a burger. I had a ice cream and a coke.

from there I walked to a travel agency next store. It was big and had air-con. My faith in the citizens of Surabaya has been restored. They gave me a seat and the International Herald Tribune to read. They provided me with the 2003 Madura schedule of bull races.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Surabaya – Java – Indonesia – General City (19-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Surabaya – Java – Indonesia – General City (19-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Surabaya – Java – Indonesia – General City (19-09-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Surabaya – Java – Indonesia – General City (19-09-2003)

I decided to head to the Island there and then. I walked back to the hotel and checked out. From there I walked to the only NET cafe (that I could find) in the city and send 2/3 emails on a slow connection. From there I took a 1000 IR beano towards the Harbour. I had to change to another. As none have destinations signs of them, its difficult to find the right one. It took me about 15 minutes. I then took another 1000 IR beano to the harbour.

I ignored the touts and agents selling tickets and walked to the public booth inside the terminal. The price was 1950 IR for the 30 minute trip. It is a 24/7 operation and the ferries leave every 20 minutes. They were all packed and full of cargo and vehicles. As everyone was smoking on board, I went outside to get some fresh air. A lot of people selling various objects on board from belts to toys. Some were annoying.

When I got to Madura, there were supposed to be buses available. There were not, but a local pointed me to the bus terminal about 1km down the road (you take a left after leaving the ferry building).

MADURA

A large island 160 km long by 30 km at its widest across the strait separating it from Surabaya. East Java. Madura is usually included in the statistics of East Java. The best day to visit Madura is on Sunday, the market day. This island is famous for its bullraces. These colorful, crowded farmers’ festivals are held frequently and attract visitors from all over the world. Traditional races are put on between April and Aug. in bullracing stadiums in villages all over Madura. Races are also held on weekends and public holidays.

From this figure, the inhabitants of Madura accounted for 1,509,431 females and 1,367,763 males. Spread among the four Regencies the population figures are as follows:

SUMENEP : 914, 053

BANGKALAN : 717, 600

PAMEKASAN : 624, 592

SAMPANG : 620, 949

Until the end of the 1970’s one could say that the Madurese led a hard, uncertain existence whether their livelihood was sought through farming, fishing or business In the last few years, however, technological progress has brought about increased living standards, improved roads, waterworks, electricity, land and sea travel, as well as communication in general. The result is an economy that stands at a higher level than it did 20 years ago.

From there I was able to get a Beano for 9000 IR to the capital of Madura called Pamekasan. It was 2.5 hours in a stuffy mini van. We kept stopping taking on and letting people off. Still, the scenery was great and I saw some great coast line with blue seas and white sands. What I found most interesting was the number of small fishing boats bobbing up and down.

I had no maps of the city so I had to take a becak (rickshaw) to my chosen hotel called the Ramayana. I had the choice of a 23,000 IR room without fan or a 50,000 IR room with air-con. As I have not had air-con for a long while, I went for it. It was basic as I sway two of those small bastard lizards on the floor. Even with the in room brush, I was able to get rid of them.

I walked own down. Lots of starring and startled looks. I read in the brochure from the hotel that the people of Madura are well known for their straightforwardness and direct approach, particularly evident in their manner of speech. I also read that they will defend their honour at the drop of a hat. Hmm, I did not want to look at the Muslim girls directly in case I offended some one.

According to the Surbaya city guide the Madurese are hot-blooded and quick to excite. It may seems so, as when I went to the supermarket for a beer, lots of giggling girl’s and HELLO MISTER. Weird.

Anyway there were lots of Warung (street restaurants) outside my hotel> Sate Kambiing was about 5000 IR and I had it twice in the evening. I was told that NO BEER was to be had in the city. True, no beer available.

It was a pretty religious city as the call for prayers blared around the city on loud speakers. There was little to do or see here at night. I found a NET cafe (with one computer) and went on the net for an hour.

I had a early night and had a goods nights sleep (even with the though of those Lizards in the room).