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Asia » Indonesia » Java » Surabaya
March 19th 2018
Published: March 22nd 2018
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WELCOME TO SURABAYA!WELCOME TO SURABAYA!WELCOME TO SURABAYA!

Our welcome committee made us feel at home.
After spending time in Bali, it is a cultural jolt to visit Java. Even though they are in the same country it is a different world. The difference is because of the two dominant religions....Islam and Hindu. Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia with a very busy port and big industry more geared to business than to tourism. There is a large Arab quarter in Surabaya along with a bustling Chinatown. Since this was our first visit here, we decided to hire a local guide to show us around. There are still many traces of the former colonial powers who ruled Java for many years. Dutch style buildings dot the cityscape. The British became caretakers of the Dutch colony after the Japanese occupation ended and they left their mark as well on the city. We took a walk through the Arab quarter and were greeted by mobs of smiling school children who wanted their picture taken with us. The souk was a beehive of activity but it was nice to walk around the pedestrianized streets without worrying about close encounters with mopeds and trucks. In Surabaya there are many tree lined boulevards and canals even in the most rundown
BOROBUDURBOROBUDURBOROBUDUR

One of the best preserved antiquities in the world.
neighborhoods.

The stylistic centerpiece of Surabaya is the Majapahit Hotel. In the late 1800s two Armenian brothers saw that with all the Asian trade heading to Europe via the newly opened Suez Canal, there was a need for luxury hotel accommodation in the port cities along the shipping routes. Thus the Sarkies brothers built a number of storied hotels which attracted Western notables including royalty, literary giants, merchants, traders and celebrities. The other Sarkies hotels are Raffles in Singapore, Mandarin Oriental in Bangkok, Strand in Rangoon, Metropole in Hanoi, Eastern & Oriental Hotel in Penang and Manila Hotel in the Philippines. All of the hotels have so much history. The Majapahit served as the headquarters of the Japanese forces and was renamed the Hotel Yamato during the war. The Manila hotel housed General MacArthur until the Japanese took it over and it later provided accommodations for the Beatles and a number of U.S. presidents. The Strand hosted Kipling and George Orwell. Jane Fonda stayed at the Metropole as did Stephen Hawking and Mick Jagger. The Bangkok Oriental was an officers club for the Japanese. While Elizabeth Taylor, Ian Fleming and James Michener also enjoyed the luxuries of the Oriental.
VIEW FROM THE TOPVIEW FROM THE TOPVIEW FROM THE TOP

The climb up is fun but usually HOT!
Raffles is famous for concocting the Singapore Sling and also that Ava Gardner and Charlie Chaplin slept there but at different times. The E&O saw the likes of Noel Coward and Douglas Fairbanks and Somerset Maugham. Since we have visited all but the Majapahit, we had to add the final jewel in the crown of classic hotels. Thus we headed to the Majapahit. Common features of all the hotels are impressive lobbies and beautifully landscaped courtyards and several classic restaurants. The Majapahit met all these requirements and we enjoyed a tour of the property and a fine lunch in the Chinese restaurant.

Semarang is close to Surabaya and is the gateway to the World Heritage Site of Borobudur. It is a bumpy three hour bus ride each way to reach the fabled site. Generally there is a police escort for the buses in order to get to Borobudur and back to the ship in time for departure. Several years ago some passengers decided to hire a car to take them to the temple. But without the police escort they managed to miss the ship's sailing. They ended up flying to Singapore and waiting several days for the ship and
INDONESIAN SCHOOL GIRLSINDONESIAN SCHOOL GIRLSINDONESIAN SCHOOL GIRLS

They loved hanging with Susan.
their luggage to catch up with them. The moral of the story is that in some ports you are better off with a ship's tour than striking out on your own.

Semerang is more of a business port than a tourist destination. One striking feature we have noticed in all of the cities of Asia is the recent addition of modern mega-malls. They are usually quite glitzy and very noisy and filled with electronic stores. We always try to seek out the local markets as they seem to better portray a country and its people. We also noticed that fewer women wear the head cover that is required in many Muslim countries. As a matter of law, the face veil is forbidden in most of Indonesia as they see themselves as a secular nation which seeks to balance the differing religions and ethnic groups throughout this large nation.


Additional photos below
Photos: 23, Displayed: 23


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SURABAYA STREET MARKETSURABAYA STREET MARKET
SURABAYA STREET MARKET

We found the Arab quarter souk a fascinating place to people watch and shop.
"EXCUSE ME""EXCUSE ME"
"EXCUSE ME"

This chap wanted pictures of us so we took one.
WANT A DATE?WANT A DATE?
WANT A DATE?

This shop carries figs and dates. Lots of them!
ARABIC FOODARABIC FOOD
ARABIC FOOD

Much of what we saw was new to us.
ABAYAS, JIHABS AND BURKAS GALOREABAYAS, JIHABS AND BURKAS GALORE
ABAYAS, JIHABS AND BURKAS GALORE

Something for every woman in Surabaya.
POLICE DETAILPOLICE DETAIL
POLICE DETAIL

These men are police in the Arab quarter.
ARAB KNICK KNACKSARAB KNICK KNACKS
ARAB KNICK KNACKS

The souk was a great find. Chinatown less so.
LOCAL TEMPLELOCAL TEMPLE
LOCAL TEMPLE

Our guide said that the architect of Borobudur did this temple as well. Maybe.
HOTEL GROUNDSHOTEL GROUNDS
HOTEL GROUNDS

A beautiful setting for a wedding or G&T. Tthey run a beautiful spa and health club.
MAJAPAHIT HOTELMAJAPAHIT HOTEL
MAJAPAHIT HOTEL

This vintage auto graces the lobby of this fabled hotel in Surabaya.
MAJAPAHIT LOBBYMAJAPAHIT LOBBY
MAJAPAHIT LOBBY

The beautiful wood interior of this hotel reminded us of Raffles. The Sarkies brothers did both as well as the E&O Hotel in Georgetown, Penang.
"IT'S MY PARTY...""IT'S MY PARTY..."
"IT'S MY PARTY..."

These girls were all dressed up for their friend's birthday party lunch.
MAJAPAHIT HOTELMAJAPAHIT HOTEL
MAJAPAHIT HOTEL

Early photo of how this classic hotel once looked.
MAJAPAHIT COURTYARDMAJAPAHIT COURTYARD
MAJAPAHIT COURTYARD

Well landscaped and surrounded by rooms.
BERNADETTE APPROACHESBERNADETTE APPROACHES
BERNADETTE APPROACHES

The Moorish architecture is very evident.
ISLAM PRAYER TOWERISLAM PRAYER TOWER
ISLAM PRAYER TOWER

The call to prayer was distinctive from this tall tower.
HAWKER STALLHAWKER STALL
HAWKER STALL

Torching a kebab is one way to cook them.
MARCH MADNESSMARCH MADNESS
MARCH MADNESS

Even the Indonesians are excited about the NCAA basketball championships.


22nd March 2018

Borobudur...
Truly one of Earth's magical places. Glad you got there!
24th March 2018

Keep Kalm and Carry On
Ahoy Mike! Thank you. We also enjoy your email posts. You are so right about Borobudur. We think "one more time." Love to you and Janet.
22nd March 2018

Your travels
Didn't realize there was anywhere that you hadn't already visited:-) I assume you've done So. America? I don't recall ever receiving any blogs from there?
24th March 2018

MARGERY
We honeymooned in BA in 1973. I was flying in the Navy and Susan flying with Braniff. We circled SA in 2012. Check out our archive when you get a chance. We loved the Amazon. How bout you? BTW-- RoseAnne and Jerry send you their love. Do you ever bridge cruise with Ann Apthorp? Perth, Aus.
22nd March 2018

Just boarded EXPLORER
Hi Kevin and Susan--we now cruising "with you"! We boarded EXPLORER yesterday in Miami and will do the crossing then on for two more segments, eventually arriving back in Barcelona, April 23. Always enjoy your blogs and always wonder when you find the time do keep them up!! Continue to enjoy your cruise!!
24th March 2018

Rosemary
In the middle of the night!😂 Have a great time on the Explorer. We know you will.
22nd March 2018

Always a good and informative commentary.
Thanks for sending commentaries of these exotic places. Hope to get there some day. Mimi
24th March 2018

MiMi
Thank you Dear. You are very nice to say so. The Arts & Crafts lady's hubbie played for the Cardinals. Nice guy. Trying to remember-- Didn't Len play outfield?

Tot: 2.06s; Tpl: 0.061s; cc: 32; qc: 120; dbt: 0.0712s; 1; m:saturn w:www (104.131.125.221); sld: 1; ; mem: 1.6mb