Friday, February 15, 2013

Semarang 2-9-2013

This morning, as  we approached Semarang, our last port in Indonesia, we were greeted by perhaps the most unusual sunrise of the trip.

Semarang lies in the northern part of Central Java. It is the fifth largest city in Indonesia, with a population of 1.5 million. More a business than tourism destination, its port has been for centuries a dock for local and foreign ships, and part of an international trading route.

Many cultures influenced this area, beginning with the Chinese who arrived in 1405. An Arab mullah founded the original village in the late 15th century. When Semarang became a Dutch trading outpost in 1705, the area became a center for coffee, sugar, tobacco, and rice cultivation.

Entering the habor we were met by the pilot boat as well as other uniquely Asian vessels.

Yesterday we had experienced another first as the two of us had never sailed by oil rigs. We assumed that there would be a connection between Semarang and these rigs.

We found the port to be unlike any of the pristine locations at which we had previously docked. This was the first dirty water we had seen since we began our journey in  December. We were advised that the city would also be dirty and there was not a lot to see on the provided city tour.

The main purpose of this stop was for those who wished to make the journey to Borobudur, both a shrine to Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage, known by some as the journey to enlightenment. As much as we would have liked to seen this UNESCO Heritage site,  the ride to Borobudur was close to two hours each way and upon arrival there would only be 45 minutes to explore. It would be extremely hot and humid and there would be many steps to climb. After an intensely hot and humid one-hour walk in Komodo, we decided that this would be the only stop on the whole trip where we would elect to remain on the ship. We used the day to gather our belongings, pack and watch the scenes outside our window.


Influence of Dutch architecture

This evening as we left port we were again escorted by the pilot and other vessels.

Leaving the harbor we were not surprised to see the approaching freighter.

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