Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 2 April 2013 • Destination
We knew our trip in Surabaya wouldn’t be a normal touristy one because we hooked up with the guys from Hifatlobrain. We wanted them to guide us through our stay in the city, and surprises were what they and the city continuously gave us. After the mystical Health Museum, the failed-due-to-Ayos-overslept Illuminati tour, and Mumun’s initiation becoming a lo-brainer, then it was my turn to be tested if I leveled up to their “pekok”ness and join the lo-brainer force. It was time to see the clubbing scene in Surabaya.
“We’ve got something wicked planned for you to do for the initiation,” said Simbah, a long-haired and bearded Hifatlobrain partisan.
I was sure that he was thinking hard what kind of test he’d give me as he was saying that, but I said,”Bring it on, bey*tch!” anyway.
And the story goes…
Simbah, or Lukman to some, drove us around town, mostly the old part of Surabaya. He gave us some clues of what we were going to do next, but we couldn’t really guess what it was. “It’s a disco-dangdut pub,” was all I comprehended. I guess he wanted to show us a clubbing scene in Surabaya, I wasn’t sure how interesting it could be. Disco-dangdut is a mix of music genre, disco and dangdut, dangdut being the music much influenced by the Hindi music with dominant sound of “gendang” or percussion-like instruments, and is usually combined with tacky lyrics and is considered to be the music of the lower middle class society. Not the kind of music I listen to, obviously. *cough*
At about 10 pm we arrived on the Kedungdoro street at the north part of town. It’s a pretty busy 4-lane road with people hanging out at the sidewalk kiosks and eateries. I saw no sign of a disco-dangdut pub that’s usually indicated by tasteless – at least to me – neon signs. So the dare was still a mystery.
Simbah parked the car in front of a closed store and led us walking past some – what seemed to be – ‘lesehan’ (sitting down on the floor) cafes with blaring disco-dangdut music. We then stopped a few cafes after, where a long black thick cloth walled a diner on the sidewalk and read “SLOKI CAFE”. And at one end of it was a digital turntable playing the music. Yup, a turntable on a sidewalk café! Dude, Surabaya keeps amusing me! I would have never thought of the clubbing scene in Surabaya would look like this! hahaa..
We took a spot at the opposite end of the café and waited for the DJ to perform. We ordered suspicious drinks from the menu. A glass – not a shot – of tequila for only IDR 15,000? You’ve gotta be kidding me! The waiter confirmed that the price list on the menu wasn’t a misprint. We took our chances, each of us ordered a different drink, all were alcoholic just to get into the ambiance. Yeah, we’re shallow like that.
The drinks came several minutes later, each with a different color: pink, blue and yellow. We looked at each other and we were like, “Do you think it’s safe to drink? Will we stay alive??.. Oh what the heck!” *Gulp, gulp, gulp* Aaaggh…! It tasted so bad and it burned my throat!! We took a sip of each others’ drink, and guess what, they all tasted the same! Too sweet with a distinct alcohol taste, I couldn’t take any more sip. Simbah and Mumun gulped some more and I think that was pretty brave of them..! LOL..
The DJ showed up at 11 pm and did his tricks with the mixer and turntable. He played popular hits from Maroon 5, Rihanna, Michael Jackson and others, and mixed it with the typical house music beats and dangdut rhythm. We thought it was funny. Combining something thought of as cool and something tacky. But when I think about it, these two kinds of music do have something in common: they make you dance, at least bob your head and tap your foot a little bit, whether you want to or not.
Out of thin-but-noisy air Simbah suddenly said, “Okay, it’s time for your lo-brainer initiation test!”
“I want you to go near the DJ booth…and dance!” He said it in a ha-ha-I-bet-you’re-bailing-out-on-this manner, and Mumun was giggling, being as supportive of a friend to me as a training bra to Mariah Carey post-Tommy Motola. You see, most Indonesians don’t like to be so much of center of the attention, especially for something uncool, cos it could be seen as disgraceful. But a promise is a promise. And I’m too proud to take my words back and let the Hifatlobrain guys make me admit that I’m a chicken!
“Fine!” I said. I got up and walked up to the DJ, followed by Mumun with her Canon G12, still giggling, ready to record this intentionally humiliating moment in HD. What a maximum use of technology, huh?
So I started dancing awkwardly. NOT ONLY THAT I’M AN AWFUL DANCER, I ALSO HAD TO DANCE TO BAD MUSIC, IN FRONT OF A LOT OF STRANGERS, ON A SIDEWALK, WITH MANY CARS PASS BY. But after a while I started to get the hang of it. To me, upbeat music is best enjoyed in loud volume, and the faster the beat, the more danceable it is. So I asked the DJ to turn everything up. He looked surprised but probably happy at the same time cos somebody seemed to appreciate his work more than other visitors who were at the most just bobbing their heads while sitting down. And this cackled Mumun up, seeing that I took the challenge to a higher level of self-embarrassment. Other visitors started to stare at me and only God knows what they were thinking. But who cares! My whole body parts continued to move in such ugly coordination, but I DID THE CHALLENGE AND I DID IT GOOD’H..!!
So it’s official. I am now a lo-brainer. Muhahaha..!
What happened after the initiation was equally interesting. We were just about to leave the café when suddenly a waiter told us that they’re closing down cos a police raid is coming soon. Say what??
The lights then went off and we headed to Simbah’s car while the Sloki guys and other cafes nearby rushingly dismantled the cafes.
A few seconds later, a police car came and parked just a few meters from us. Ohohoho.. Looks like somebody runs a business with no permit! Little did we know, we were somewhat involved in an illegal activity! A line of sidewalk cafes catered some people’s need of entertainment and none of them had the business permit. Oh Surabaya, you are more surprises than we have ever thought! We love you!