After leaving Bali, we sailed west to the Indonesian island of Java and docked in the city of Surabaya. Instead of doing a tour here, we decided to head out and explore on our own. When traveling to different and exotic places, you never really know how people will react to Americans with giant cameras and gear. We realized quickly that the locals weren’t used to seeing Americans walking around, especially the kind toting around cameras that must have looked crazy to them. Before shooting a lot, we try to politely test the waters, getting a feel for people’s reactions and gesturing to our cameras in a way that’s asking if it’s ok to take their photo. To our relief, the locals were not only ok with us taking their photos, they LOVED it. Many of them would even say thank you after we took their picture! We could also tell that many of them were excited to be able to test out some of the English they knew with us. People would slow down in their cars or bikes and say “hello mister!,” and things like that.

As far as the city goes, it was very hot and stuffier than what we’re used to. Many of the streets and buildings were rugged, either from time, weather, people or all of the above. We liked all the weathered textures and vibrant colors, but most of all, the smiling people. We walked around for hours, up until we felt like we would melt, and then returned to the ship to review our images.

From Surabaya, we would travel the short distance to Semarang and visit the spectacular Borobudur. More to come!

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