Remember when I said Auckland was busy?


Surabaya is the hectic pace and energy of Kuta on steroids. Everyone is going everywhere at the same time. It’s also the dirtiest city I’ve ever been to. It makes for quite a picture. Once I had a small nap (couldn’t sleep long) one of my hosts, Bujang, took me on a drive around town. He had some errands to run, which was fine by me as I’m often more fascinated with everyday places than the touristy ones. I got to see first-hand how auto dealerships (Suzuki, in this case) treats their customers the same everywhere. Long waits, costs for things that shouldn’t cost, and ridiculous problems for a brand-new car. We did get a free snack, though.

After that we took a trip to see a local tobacco museum. The company that is represented, Sampoerna, is the largest and most popular cigarette manufacturer in Indonesia. Not only do they have some cool pictures, props, and history tidbits throughout the museum, but the second level is an actual production floor. I stood for what seemed like forever watching row after row of Indonesian ladies working on a variety of tasks. Some rolled tobacco. Others cut paper. Yet more trimmed rolled smokes. And even more packed them into boxes. What amazed me most was how crazy FAST they were. If I hadn’t seen it in person, I would swear that someone sped up the tape. It was unbelievable.

The rest of the day was spent driving around and seeing some other parts of the city. Nothing major to report until the evening, when a group of fellow Couchsurfers gathered for a going-away party/celebration of the US Independance Day, as there was another American present. His name is Rob and he is hilarious. Bujang was kind enough to buy a roman candle and we fired it off just before dinner, which was a mixed selection of Indonesian and grilled foods. It was good times.

The next morning, Indi arrived via taxi safe-and-sound. It was such a relief to see her. She was even happier to see me, as you’d know reading her previous post. All was well, and we spent the day sightseeing. We saw the largest mosque in Southeast Asia, called Nasionale Mosque al-Akbar I believe. It was amazing. We also drove to the other side of town to see a small Chinese-style mosque and talked to some fantastic locals. In the evening, we met up again with Rob and Claire (FRA) and spent sunset at a large outdoor park. Sleep was very welcome.

Today we drove for several hours to a secluded mountainous area where Lupi and Bujang went paragliding. It was amazing! Neither Indi or I had the guts to do it ourselves (yet) and I got some fantastic photos.


Tonight is karaoke! I’m low on battery so this is a bit abbreviated, but once we’re able to post more and get some photos online we’ll see you again.

About rhysfunk

Rhys Martin was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1981. In 2009, he sold everything he owned and left the country, living out of a backpack for ten months. He discovered a passion for photography while traveling throughout Southeast Asia and Europe. After returning home, he looked at his home town and Oklahoma heritage with fresh eyes. When he began to explore his home state, Rhys turned his attention to historic Route 66. As he became familiar with the iconic highway, he began to truly appreciate Oklahoma’s place along the Mother Road. He has traveled all 2,400 miles of Route 66, from Chicago to Los Angeles. He has also driven many miles on rural Oklahoma highways to explore the fading Main Streets of our small towns. Rhys has a desire to find and share the unique qualities of the Sooner State with the rest of the world. Cloudless Lens Photography has been featured in several publications including This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World. In 2018 he published his first book, Lost Restaurants of Tulsa. Rhys loves to connect with people and share his experiences; ask him about enjoyable day trips from Tulsa, locations along Route 66, and good diners or burger joints along the way.
This entry was posted in Indonesia, Old Travelogue. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s