Here I am, in Surabaya, Java for New Years, Sister Janaki from Bali, invited me, it is one of the centers she manages in Indonesia. I had never heard of Surabaya before and had never visited Java before! The population is close to 3 million, mostly Muslim, Indonesia has the largest population of Muslims in the world. Surabaya is an industrial city, not very attractive, with every car manufacturing plant possible, they are all here! I have been here for 3 days and haven’t seen another Western person, in malls, taxis, anywhere! Of course I went to see a movie, the only one in English was Star Wars, the theatre was full of locals all watching this in English with subtitles (very little English is spoken here). My welcome was when I gave program this morning, I was introduced as first Western person to visit, I don’t know why but that surprised me!
The culture, in every way, is different but centers in Bali and here are doing their very best to make sure I have my salad and fruit every day (it is not something they eat).
Getting here, the flight is one hour from Bali, but the plane was half way here when pilot announced he had to go back to Denpasar, that was little scary, so one hour flight took all day before they found other plane to depart again. I have lovely large room, one with AC, Indonesians are not fond of AC, for me heat is very oppressive! You can here prayers all around you, really quite lovely; they seem to echo against one another from the different Mosques.
My sense is people work very hard here and life isn’t easy! I am beginning to see and understand how pampered we are in the west!
It is city of malls, all very large, with everything possible inside the mall, each one being bigger than the next one!
I leave here tomorrow for Penang for 3 days to see my friends there, before heading back to Bali.
I know, haven’t done blog on Bali yet, but will!
Happy New Year from Surabaya!!