Our day in Surabaya, Java, Indonesia

Today’s we would discover Surabaya, Java on our own. We had no tours scheduled at all, we would just play it as it comes.

We had overheard talks about and interesting place to visit would be the House of Sampoerna which is famous for their Cafe, Gift Shop, Art Gallery, and Cigarette Factory. Wow! Why would a non-smoker want to visit a such a place? Because …. Although the company is called Sampoerna, meaning perfection, their most popular brand of cigarettes is Dji Sam Soe. This brand and others they produce are not like traditional tobacco cigarettes such as Marlboro. In fact they are known as kretek cigarettes, or in other words a combination of tobacco and cloves. The name comes from the crackling sound the cigarettes makes as they are burned. Although Liem Seeng Tee was not the inventor of kretek cigarettes, when he founded his company in 1913 they were just starting to become popular as — believe it or not — a medicinal product!

But I am getting ahead of today’s story; In all our cruising to ports all over the world, I don’t think I ever seen such a fleet of cargo ship anchored in one place ….

…. because when the tide changes all of those ships have to “swing” on their anchor chain without hitting it’s neighbors. In this picture the tide is going out ….

…. twelve hours later, the tide is coming back in.

After the ship docked, we went ashore and were welcomed b this beautiful couple.

…. and some really raucous dancers, who seemingly have Barbara surrounded, I think she is trying to tell them she is married to that guy over there!

Barbara almost got hung up at the craft and clothing stalls inside the terminal, but soon realized that they would still be their on our return. So we made a plan to use the cheap services of the city taxi’s. Naturally as we exited the terminal we were set upon by taxi drivers with outrageous prices, so we moved on to a taxi stand where the taxi’s were metered …. our round trip cost to the Cigarette Factory and black – just under $8 US! And the cabs were very clean and air conditioned. What a bargain!

When we arrived the factory, we were amazed by magnificence of the building …. a factory? What makes this factory unique is the fact that the tobacco is mixed with cloves, and the scent of cloves is very present.

I saw those flowers yesterday but the center of the blossom is so white it is hard to get any detail. They almost look like white spiders.

Yet this one stood so proud, I couldn’t resist.

As we entered the museum, we were greeted by a young attendant/guide, who offered a free tour, but we preferred to browse on our own, but took his advice to start upstairs, where we could overlook the women rolling the cigarettes by hand. We watch, mesmerized by the speed of their movements, rolling 300 cigarettes an hour – 12 seconds per cigarette! NO PICTURES – NO VIDEOS, warned the signs on the viewing windows.

Continuing our self-guided tour, I kept noticing this company logo/slogan/philosophy. The three hands signify, good management, excellent product, and satisfied consumers.

These baskets of cloves were on display in the museum

Entering the Art Gallery we thought we were the only ones there until we entered this room with two curious school girls. “May we please take a picture?” one asked. Sure, no with you, so we all gathered while one took a selfie of the four of us. Then Barbara asked them to pose for her.

…. school children are always anxious to practice their english language skills …. five minutes later the small rooms were filled with folks from a ship’s tour, and the moment was gone.

After a leisurely lunch of coffee, a hamburger and fries in the factory cafe, we decided to ask the staff to call for a taxi and our wonderful “fly-by-the-seat” excursion, save for the ride back, came to an end.

I am going to attempt to insert a video, to share what traffic is like in Indonesia.

Success, and please notice the difference vehicles as we go by. This video is not speeded up – I have observed during our stay in Indonesia that not one vehicle has any indications of contact with …. the drivers seem to hav an innate sense of space and time. INCREDIBLE!

Next: Our final port in this beautiful country; Semarang, Java and a ships tour of “Semarang Sights”

5 thoughts on “Our day in Surabaya, Java, Indonesia

  1. The video was an exciting ride. Did you notice what looked like a boat hanging from davits outside a building 2nd floor ??? Maybe it was a window washer, but then maybe they are prepared for flooding. It was after the major intersection stop.
    Flowers were beautiful.

  2. Sounds like you all had a wonderful day at the factory. Again I just love the pictures of the flowers you seem to find that look beautiful. Clove and tobacco cigarettes sound interesting. Bet it smelled really good in the factory! So glad you two got to have another fun excursion.

  3. More beautiful people and your Barbara is the flower in the center of it all. Lovely pictures. What a lovely time you had. Apparently the boats moored in the harbor have something in common with the street traffic – personal space and nobody crashes. Thanks for sharing.

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