05 January 2009

Finding faith in Surabaya

By Karen

I couldn’t quite understood what was bugging me on my way to the airport, a pinching feeling that I’ve left behind something that I should have taken with me to Indonesia. It was not until I reached LCCT (low cost carrier terminal) that it hit me that I’ve forgotten to grab along the key to my office drawer where I’ve kept my DSLR!

Though there were 4 daily flights to Surabaya and I could easily hopped on to any of the half filled airbus, I wasn’t prepared to take another 3 hours back and forth for the camera. So being the optimistic person that I am, I went with the flow hoping that something good would come out from my carelessness.

Being the second largest city in Indonesia, Surabaya is noisy and crowded. Albeit the thorough introduction on touristy highlights given by the taxi driver from Juanda Airport to city centre, I wasn’t really in the mood to explore what Surabaya has to offer. All that really mattered to me then was to find a digital camera and a way to Mount Bromo.

After an unsuccessful walk-in attempt to book a room at Kecana Puri Hotel, I ended up at a somewhat basic guesthouse recommended by the taxi driver. Considering it was Christmas Day (and I doubt I would be lucky to find any rooms) and the hotel is a stone throw away from Gubeng train station and Surabaya Plaza, I thought it was probably the better (perhaps only) option that i had.

The rest of the afternoon was spend loitering at Surabaya plaza searching high and low for a digital camera, I can’t believe how expensive the digital cameras are in Indonesia. I wasn’t prepared to spend close to RM1k for a crappy digital camera with less than 10 mega pixel and so I thought perhaps I can just make do with a film camera. But to my surprise! It seems that film camera has gone extinct in this country. I’ve searched every corner and couldn’t find a camera shop with a film camera. What really got me though was the look on those salesman’s face. As though I am an ancient dinosaur who has been left behind in the world of high tech shinny metal box. I wanted to wipe the snort on their faces and tell them that I too have a DSLR that cost 5 times more than their stupid little overpriced digital cameras.

Just when I was starting to feel really sore about the trip without my camera with me, I heard a knock on my bedroom door. And there he was, the guys who works at Hotel Gubeng, holding a film camera that was once popular 20 years ago.

‘I have something for you’, he said. And handed me the film camera.

I beamed with excitement and was speechless for a while. When I finally managed to bring myself to offer some money for the camera, he insisted that I keep the money.

For the rest of the night, I couldn’t help feeling blessed and grateful for the kindness and generosity that he has given to me without expecting anything in return.


The once popular film camera.

This, is the magic of travel. Restoring faith in humanity and to marvel in generosity and kindness of people from diverse culture background.

  • Almond

    oh I can’t imagine going on a holiday without my camera too!

  • Karen

    It feels somewhat incomplete without the camera doesn’t it? :D