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Surabaya questions???
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:06 pm    Post subject: Surabaya questions??? Reply with quote

Have any of you gone to, lived in, worked in that city?

I have an int's uni interested in me for a teaching gig there but never met anyone who was from or lived in Surabaya.

Is a nice place to live.

Can you find quality docs who speak English?


Does it have a good expat scene?

What would it be like for a middle-aged single male?

Thanks
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ExpatLuke



Joined: 11 Feb 2012
Posts: 399

PostPosted: Tue Apr 17, 2012 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm headed to Surabaya at the end of May. From what I've heard it's your pretty typical Indonesian city. Not quite as crazy as Jakarta but it's still a big city. It's closer to tourist places like Bali and the beaches in Malang are great and only a few hours drive away.

There's several language centers there, so I'd imagine the expat community does pretty well. Probably not as much in terms of night life and entertainment as Jakarta has, but I doubt you would get bored if you're worried about that.

I won't know much more until I get there myself.
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jaybet3



Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Indonesia

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 11:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've lived in Surabaya for eight months and can offer some info.

I don't think I'd call any city in Indonesia "nice", but you can make yourself comfortable here if you have some money to spend.

Surabaya is crowded with lots of traffic. Everything is far apart so if you don't ride a motorbike (I don't) you'll spend a lot of money on taxis. One way to describe how people here drive is "organized chaos." The white lines on the road don't mean anything.

I was impressed with the hospital in my area. The doctors spoke English, the facilities were modern and very efficient.

I'm married to an Indonesian woman and we have an baby girl so I don't go out much at night or weekends so I can't comment on the nightlife. I think there's one pub, but I haven't found it yet. When I do go out, it's usually to a top end hotel (Mercure, Novotel, etc.) or one of the many malls.

If you live in Bangkok now (per your profile), I think you'll be in shock when you get to this conservative, Muslim country. I suggest you find yourself a girlfriend and that should make life tolerable.

Feel free to PM for more specific info. Also, when you guys get to town let's get together. It'll be nice to meet some fellow expats.

Cheers.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Thu Apr 19, 2012 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
If you live in Bangkok now (per your profile), I think you'll be in shock when you get to this conservative, Muslim country.


I can't speak for Surabaya as I've never been there, but I can assure you that Jakarta is every bit as 'naughty' as Bangkok if not more so, it's just more hidden away and obviously not as tourist-orientated. Having said that, isn't the largest red-light district (Dolly) in Indonesia in Surabaya?

Now, I'm going to be pedantic, but Indonesia is not a 'Muslim country' just because the majority of its population practice Islam. Indonesia recognises six religions which are, in theory, equal to one another and the government should be neutral as regards religious matters. Iran is a Muslim country (or, more correctly, an Islamic State), Indonesia isn't.
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hippocampus



Joined: 27 Feb 2012
Posts: 126
Location: Bikini Bottom

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's an apocryphal story (which means, it don't really even need to be true, but you get the point) that when the King of Saudi Arabia visited here, he said: 'If I didn't know, I would never have guessed Indonesia is a Islamic country."

As said above, it does recognize five other faiths (but not the lack of one), so technically it isn't an Islamic country. On the other hand, over 90% of its 240,000,000 people 'profess' Islam... Confused
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jaybet3



Joined: 15 Dec 2010
Posts: 45
Location: Indonesia

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The area called Dolly is full of gangsters and pimps. I went there with some friends, all of us experienced travelers in Asia, and we were afraid to get out of the taxi. Also, in these places, there's more of a language barrier here than in Thailand.

So, while Jakarta may be more cosmopolitan, my boss (from Jakarta) tells me it's hard for him to recruit single, male teachers to work in Surabaya because the place is so boring.

I'm married, so it doesn't matter to me and I go to Thailand for my recreation.

So, let's here some facts from people who actually live in Surabaya.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 1:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
The area called Dolly is full of gangsters and pimps. I went there with some friends, all of us experienced travelers in Asia, and we were afraid to get out of the taxi.


Oh, please!!! You sound like one of my cosseted students who compare working class areas of Jakarta to the Bronx, and tell me how dangerous it is to use public transport despite millions of people having trouble-free trips every day. As for the pimps - it's a red light area, for goodness sake Very Happy

I know people who've lived in Surabaya and they regularly went down to Dolly for a night out - amazingly, they emerged unscathed each time. One of these has since left Indonesia, but, after also working in Bandung and Jakarta, he said if he ever came back he'd work in Surabaya again.

So, you and your boss think it's conservative and boring - fair enough, but I've heard different from people who have lived there and I'm posting this as I doubt any of them come on here. It's only fair for the OP to hear different opinions - the fact that I don't live there is by the by.
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Durian Tango



Joined: 05 Nov 2010
Posts: 65
Location: HCMC

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote]As said above, it does recognize five other faiths (but not the lack of one), so technically it isn't an Islamic country. On the other hand, over 90% of its 240,000,000 people 'profess' Islam... [/quote]

I think it should be noted that many of the 90% mentioned here do not follow Islam strictly as prescribed. The majority, especially in farther flung islands, mix Islam with traditional/pagan beliefs as well as mix Islam with the traditions of other relgions, often Buddhism and Hinduism. You'll often find folks practicing different parts of different religion that would often seem to be contradictory, but for them it works, so who can argue with it.

Also, as Indonesians have to declare a religion, I would argue that many have checked the Islam box purely because it's the easy thing to do, rather than state their true belief (which may not fit into a box).

The whole thing is both complex and fascinating. And has nothing to do with Surabaya Smile
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sushikurva



Joined: 11 Dec 2006
Posts: 58
Location: out n' about

PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

,,,

Last edited by sushikurva on Sun Jun 08, 2014 2:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Atoms for Peace



Joined: 06 Feb 2006
Posts: 133
Location: NKRI

PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2012 2:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sushikurva wrote:


Never a fan of computer games, i stumbled across the 'solitaire' game on my laptop a couple of months ago, and noticed yesterday that i have played 1474 games since then.



Phew! I thought it was just me. Visited a few times. Didn't stay long.

By the way, "Minesweeper" is pretty good too...
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 4:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sushikurva wrote:
15 years abroad, lived in half a dozen countries in asia and a bunch more elsewhere, and all I can say is SB is flat out the most boring place I have ever been. Unless you like to go to shopping malls, there is absolutely nothing to do here. The city is spread out, huge, and centre-less... re: nightlife, forget it... i haven't been to dolly as that's not my scene, but the two discos i have been too were unbeleievably provincial and preposterously expensive.

If you've ever spent any time in a small town in korea, despite all of the obvious differences, the feeling for me closely resembles that.

...

My girlfriend is indonesian, and we are both in hysterics several times a day at how little there is to do here.

...

Of course, it depends what you're looking for, and if you were offered a super high salary so that you could travel frequently and save a bit of dosh, it might not be horrible...


Alas, those were my concerns. To make matters worse the commitment would need to be for two years and the school only gives 2 weeks vacation - one of the things I don't like about SE Asia is their love for only 2 weeks vac. If they had 4 or 5 weeks I could at least use that to travel outside but I can't help feeling that signing on for two years there would be like joining the French Foreign Legion.

Boredom, playing computer games and hanging around hotels and shopping malls are not what I came to Asia for I must say.
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Tudor



Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 236

PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Concerns about Surabaya aside, I'd say 2 weeks leave is unusually low in Indonesia; even the much maligned EF give 22 days.

I'd give the job a miss on that basis alone.
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boomerexpat



Joined: 15 Apr 2012
Posts: 129
Location: Mexico

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tudor wrote:
Concerns about Surabaya aside, I'd say 2 weeks leave is unusually low in Indonesia; even the much maligned EF give 22 days.

I'd give the job a miss on that basis alone.

Interesting. Almost all the unis I've spoken with in Thailand only give two weeks to start. You can accrue more after a number of years. I agree that two weeks just isn't enough.

It could be worse though. A woman who works with an NGO told me she was shocked to find out they were expected to spend one of their two weeks of vacation vacationing with their "work family" and to not do so would make them seem uncommitted to the job. The other week they were supposed to be available for phone calls each day from work or they would also not be viewed as being committed to their work.

I think this goes back to the whole feudal history of the region. Serving the master is paramount.
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godmachine12



Joined: 06 Feb 2009
Posts: 54

PostPosted: Fri May 04, 2012 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Surabaya isn't as bad as it's portrayed. There is plenty to do but you've got to go out and find it for yourself. If you can't speak Indonesian—or Javanese for that matter—it's admittedly a bit more difficult but once you can even relatively well, you're opened up to a whole new world you never knew existed. Get some wheels, make some friends and enjoy your time. Surabaya is relatively well-connected and close to some good places to relax when you've got holiday.
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DeanP



Joined: 25 Jul 2010
Posts: 9

PostPosted: Mon May 21, 2012 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in Surabaya for a year. There's not a great deal to do in the city itself but there are some beautiful places in the surrounding countryside, especially around the Mt Bromo area.

Jaybet3 (above) said you'd need to spend a lot on taxis, but the local buses and minibuses are ok once you get to know the routes.

It’s a good base from which to explore other parts of Indonesia, as well as other South-East Asian countries, although you wouldn’t be able to do much if you only have two weeks off though in a year. Maybe you should try to negotiate that up to six weeks.
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