Why did we go to Surabaya?

Why did we go to Surabaya?

You know it’s not looking promising when the top rated place to visit on TripAdvisor is a shopping mall.

How can a modern temple to global consumerism, built no doubt with foreign investment and kick-backs, be the most popular destination – where are the inspiring museums, historic buildings or peaceful parks?

We are in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second largest city with three million people (that’s three times the population of Birmingham in England), yet there is nothing remotely aesthetic here. In fact we saw the most attractive place as we left – the airport terminal.

So, before our flight to Bali, what to do with our day? We took super cheap Uber’s (making them illegal here doesn’t appear to be on the cards), to a couple of eclectic sites; a cigarette factory and a Russian submarine. So our theme for the day was ‘things which kill people’.

But instead, we probably should have used our day in East Java to visit Mount Bromo, but that would have been our ninth volcano of the gap year.

This is one of the factories where the Sampoerna company still hand roll tobacco and clove cigarettes. They are called Kretek, the name derived from the sound of burning cloves. Indonesia is the world’s largest producer of clove cigarettes, and exports up to $500 million of the product a year
Surabaya is very proud of its old Russian sub. And it’s great to walk all the way through it, touching the old dials, although Hilary found it very claustrophobic and had to rush out. With a crew of 62, KRI Pasopati 410 was used in 1961-62 during Operation Trikora, a military effort led by then-president Sukarno to annex New Guinea from the Netherlands

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