We say goodbye to Wijaya and his family. To be honest, I am sad to say goodbye to a cool guy who opens his heart and home to so many strangers from countries far and wide. The train station is just five minutes away and we only wait 2-3 minutes before boarding and setting off on the first leg of our fifteen hour journey to Semarang.
The economy train ride is relatively comfortable, though the space between the seats is probably not enough for Paul’s long legs. Is short people are well catered for though. The rice fields slip by and the two hours to Surabaya pass quickly. (Especially for Paul who sleeps most of the way.)
It’s barely 9am as we navigate the relatively modest crush of taxi drivers, becak riders and other touts waiting at the station for a fare. We have to wait until 4pm for our train to Semarang so decide to walk about 200m to the Grand City Mall. We haven’t had wifi in a couple of days so wait for the shopping centre to open in Starbucks uploading photos to Facebook and Instagram. There is a beauty show going on next door at the convention centre so we watch beautifully women in glamorous dresses walk past. It seems there will be a makeup contest on this morning and this is why they are so dolled up. I’ve never seen anything like this in real life.
The shopping centre is modern and glitzy. Everything is the same price as home except the food court, which is a mixed bag. You can buy a 450,000IDR ($AU45) Australian steak at The Rocks or a 25,000IDR ($AU2.50) meal of satay sticks with rice and everything in between. Japanese seems to be the most common takeaway.
But our real joy is indulging in our favourite pastime other than travel: the movies. We go to see Inside Out at the XXI Cinema. The seats are large and comfortable, the picture quality superb, the surround sound actually surrounds us and the movie itself is sweet.
Then it’s time to play Frogger as we cross the road, avoid the tout as we push our way through the waiting public and private transport at the station and into the cool shade of the platform as we wait for our train. Being a foreigner might open you up to scams at the Bromo but at train stations it leads to being allowed through to the platform early instead of having to wait in the heat with the crowds.
The train journey from Surabaya to Semarang is uneventful. We have booked an executive class train so sit in large reclining seats in comfort with blankets provided by the railway company. Paul bought us an earphone splitter for my laptop so we pass the time watching movies and television series on my laptop. There is a movie showing on the train but it has many advertisements so I prefer to watch my advertisement free iTunes purchases.
We arrive in Semarang at 10:30pm to the delightful surprise of two of my cousins waiting to pick us up. I feel blessed to have family here. It’s really cool for me because I grew up as a migrant child without a blood related extended family. And I feel I am still just getting to know my cousins after our week together last year so I didn’t expect them to be at the station waiting. 🙂
Our hotel is wonderful and luxurious but costs the same as a campsite in a caravan park in Australia. We should go to sleep but I use my Scrubber bag to wash the Bromo sand out of our clothes then we put on a movie and order pizza room service at midnight (I can’t remember ever ordering room service before) because we’re feeling peckish. It’s all very civilised and luxurious and new. Quite fitting really after such a relatively luxurious day.