Surabaya that we found out is not really an entertainment city. We’d been through some physically and mentally challenging days in Bromo and later Ijen (will write about them in my next post) so we wanted to find a little bit of relaxation before wrapping our trip up and returned to our normal life back in Malaysia.
Looking for a place to chill out has proved to be not an easy task in Surabaya. Even taxi drivers didn’t seem to be able to come up with their own suggestions. Some of them even admitted that there’s nothing much to see around town and that most of the attractions are located outside of the city. In the end internet is still the best source of information.
Desperate to find some entertainment (or beer in particular:-P), we asked to be sent to Dolly, a place that I found out about over the internet and is known as the Red District of Surabaya. Surabaya despite its low-profile-ness compared to the likes of Pataya in Thailand and probably The Anjeles City in the Philippines is said to be the city with the most number of prostitutes in South East Asia and most of them are said to be doing their businesses in Dolly. We intended to check that fact out. :-D
The Javanese driver smiled mischievously and asked ‘Mau cari seks ya?’ (Looking for sex?). I quickly told him that we just wanted to look around but his mischievous smile never left him.
Dolly turned out to be so different from what I had expected. For one it is located very much in a residential area where you’d see mothers and kids and all roaming freely around. It consists of a few main streets that branch out into smaller streets with seedy karaoke lounges all along both sides.
The taxi driver drove us on along one of the main streets and we were instantly stopped by hordes of people all eager to have us ‘on board’. The taxi driver seemed to be so amused and he began to mumble words that we could not even understand. I guess that was what happens when you bring a religious man into a place like Dolly. Astagfirullah! :-D
Not wanting to keep him around for too long, we asked to be dropped off at the end of the street and began to explore the place in the hope of finding some place to eat and probably having some beer later. Instead, we were welcomed by the sight of seedy karaoke lounges with scantily clad girls in all shiny dresses that you can probably imagine sitting cross-legged in rows out on the front porch.
Every now and then a group of men would come giving us offers and naming prices and rationalizing with us as to why we should pick their girls. Amusingly enough, there seemed to be more of them than the girls themselves. LOL.
Once I jolted in shock when somebody grabbed me in the hand. It was too tight for me to immediately break away. I turned to see an over-sized woman in an over-sized dress pouting her lips and wiggling her head so flirtatiously at me. I politely declined and said ‘Probably next time’ and walked on much faster that I probably intended to. She must be forty something.
I would liken Dolly in Surabaya to Brickfield in KL. We expected to find Bukit Bintang but we found Brickfield so we didn’t intend to stay there any longer than necessary. It wasn’t long before we heard an azan from a nearby mosque, quieting the whole place down in an instant. We quickly hailed a taxi and asked the driver to send us to wherever we could find some entertainment.
He sent us to some posh-looking club on top of a shopping mall. The shining dark glass panels on the front wall kind of scared us away. We took the elevator down to the ground floor and hailed another taxi – again asked the driver to take us to somewhere we could find some entertainment.
We dropped us off in front of a shopping mall. We laughed heartily when we found out that it was the same shopping mall that we went to earlier. After having a much-needed dinner at one of the restaurants there, we walked over to an adjoining building where we found an elevator. After confirming with the janitor that there was indeed a pub up there, we joined a bunch of teenagers to the 6th of the building where we found a pub called Coyote Bar. I actually found out about it on google earlier on. LOL.
Coyote Bar is a huge two-storey bar whose ground-floor is dominated by a big stage with a large screen as a backdrop. The music band was not bad at all, performing a mix of old and new songs. They actually opened their performances that night with a series of songs by Bon Jovi so I was instantly charged up.
It was good to finally find a good place to chill out in Surabaya – but – it had come with a big price. The ever-bland Heineken (the only beer there was. Damn) is priced at IDR399, 000 (MYR120!) per jug which is about double the price of beer at Hard Rock Café in KL so it was definitely very expensive by all standards.
Apparently, the place was not all about live band performances. Every time the band takes a break, a bunch of young girls would take over and dance flirtatiously to the music with a minimal piece of clothes on them, covering only the private parts and breasts. For a moment I wished they would take them all off but no, they didn’t so I was left crying in frustration. LOL! Kidding lah! :-P
The place must be a hang-out spot for the rich or rather the kids of the rich. A group of young teenagers came taking over most of the tables by the stage and it wasn’t long before a giant bottle of Chivas was wheeled over to their table. And they haven’t even finished half the first bottle when another bottle came! Whoahh! I didn’t even want to know the price but they had definitely cost those kids a bomb.
Of course kids will always be kids. One minute they seemed to be enjoying the party, challenging among themselves to drink one glass after another mostly in one go and before I knew a glass was smashed on the floor and a fight quickly broke. The last thing I saw before we left was one of the kids being led to the exit by the security.
So, yeah, if you’re looking for (night) entertainment in Indonesia, Surabaya might not be the best place to be. You might want to consider going to Jakarta and probably Bandung instead. I have never been to these two cities, but I’ve heard a lot of stories about how ‘entertaining’ they are :-D