Day 71 — Mar 12 — At Sea
Just another normal day at sea. This is becoming a real Magical Mystery Tour. Surubaya, Indonesia turned us away and we spent two days in Lomboc instead. All kinds of ports are closing to cruise ships and it is only getting more difficult. I am getting ahead of myself, but we will find that when we are in Semarang, Indonesia tomorrow that Jakarta will refuse us also. Even though we are spending hours in each port to have every person on the ship tested for a fever.
Day 72 — Mar 13 (Friday the 13th) — Semarang, Indonesia
We arrive at 6 AM. Nice and Early! But we are held several miles offshore and Medical Personnel are brought on board for the “Testing” that we are starting to get used to. Every person on the ship has to be tested before the ship is allowed to sail into the dock. This is getting serious.
Well, everyone passes as we are told that if one person doesn’t pass that we will be denied entry. But the testing doesn’t begin until approximately 8 AM and it takes until about 10 AM to finish. The ship is cleared for entry but now we have to sail into the dock. This takes more than an hour and it is 11:15 until we are at dock. We get in the queue and don’t get off the ship until Noon.
We find the “Vultures” right outside the terminal and find one that for $110 USD will take us anywhere we want for 4-5 hours. We ask if the driver speaks English. The driver says ‘yes’. We say ‘how well do you speak English’. He says, ‘yes’. Okay, we have our answer. We attempt to move on to find better communication. A lady comes over, speaking perfect English and says for an additional $25 USD, she will come along. The total price is one that we could possibly improve upon, but we decide to go with it because we only have 5 hours in which to be back at the ship.
So we agree and go with them to the SUV and drive away with Wawan (pronounced Juan) and the English speaking guide, Mindny happily chatting away at us. They take us to GPIB Emanuel Church where we make a donation and are allowed inside to take photos and witness a children’s class taking place. Outside, a group of young school kids are happy to have their photo taken. Then we go into an antique store that closely resembles a Flea Market back home. The fun part of this store is when Elee takes a motorcycle ride with the country’s president!
We then go to a Temple, Cie Hye Tac, or something like that, and we are allowed to take photos throughout. Quite the intricate design and woodwork all through the Temple. We then go to a restaurant nearby that sells “Lumpia”, a kind of deep fried spring roll that is famous here. This restaurant is too crowded and we go to a different one named, “Cik Me Me”. As advertised, “Lunpia” is delicious. We try four flavors, some stuffed with crab, fish, lamb and mushrooms. They are all good. We even try some chips made from the Lunpia shells. Tasty!
We then travel on to the “Rainbow Village”, a very poor village that decided to paint their houses in rainbow colors to attract tourists. The village is on a hillside and the painting scheme works very nicely and tourists abound here. There is a somewhat difficult climb to the top of the hill, where someone has built a colorful sign and a scaffolding and stairs to overlook the village. My camera urges me to climb the steps even though Elee decides to only go about halfway. My camera is thrilled we make it to the top.
Back down the steps, more photo opps come about and we meet back up with Elee and our guide (who was also happy not to have to climb to the top) and we look through a flower market in hopes of finding a unique bouquet to take back but the flowers are nothing unusual and we make no purchase.
We then travel on to “Sam Poo Kong” Temple, an elaborate property with many buildings that entertain our cameras. A massive courtyard allows us to walk around and let our cameras play.
We arrive at “Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah Temple” where there is a 20 story tower to look over the city. We don’t bother going in the temple but instead just pay to climb the tower. Another 20,000 ($1.50 USD) and we ride an elevator up for some aerial photos. A group of playful Boy Scouts grabs our attention briefly and one of them speaks English so we are able to chat with them.
Our cameras thank us once again and we go back down to our ride. A group of workers are playful and fun and I take photos of them and with them. There is a souvenir shop at the bottom where we find our wall magnet and we head off back to our ship. Upon arrival at the port, we thank our driver and guide and pay them approximately 2,000,000 (Two Million) Rupiahs. We feel so rich and so poor as we pay it out. Our consolation is that it was approximately $125 USD for the day’s tour with a guide. We possible could have done better but we are satisfied.
We go back on the ship and acquire our laptops and go back in the terminal for some good WiFi and get our blogs up to date through Lomboc.
Back on board again, we have a cold beer and cider and it’s off to dinner and to our room to write this up! The announcement comes across the intercom that Jakarta, tomorrow’s port, has refused us entry. This Corona Virus has permeated the region and we wonder what will become of us. It looks like Asia will be off our list for this trip as we find the news that India, and possibly Viet Nam will turn us away also. So we are informed that we sit at this dock until early in the morning as they try to figure out where we can go from here.
See you tomorrow! It will be an adventure!