One Day In Semarang

Thursday, June 16, 2011

A short journey to Semarang. This time I went with my two colleagues from work.

I thought that to get the best moment at a mosque, I had to shoot on Friday. But no, things don’t always work out the way I thought they would. The old mosque at Kampung Melayu, Semarang, didn’t hold a Friday prayer. Perhaps it was too small in size.

Coming here for the first time in 2002, I felt like coming back after watching the movie of “?” which many of its scenes were taken at this place. With no one inside the mosque, I decided to focus on the architecture. The absence of human element had made this picture lack of the sense of scale.

Another spot to shoot would be Lawang Sewu. This was like my third visit. Sadly, this time we couldn’t wander in the main lobby in which there was a grand stair with a huge painted stained glass above as it was being renovated. Our tour guide, Arief, said that it would be re-opened for public next month. So we could only enter the secondary building in the north wing.
There was no significant change with the place except that today we had to rent a pair of boots to wander in the underground tunnel which for years had been flooded with ground water. We refused to rent those as we were not interested in the tunnel.

Four years ago, I could enter the tunnel without having to rent boots. I just had to tip the tour guide. Today, we had to buy a ticket of ten thousand rupiahs plus another thirty for tipping the lousy tour guide. The only bright side of this visit was we were allowed to enter the service building that was actually old toilet. I was captured a spooky scene of a closet cubicle.

I remembered the first time I went to the attic of Lawang Sewu. It was four years ago and I was like all sweat for no obvious reason.

The sky turned to be nice in the afternoon. We returned to “Kota Lama (Old Town)” where my two friends let me walk along the streets to take some pictures.

At some part of “Kota Lama,” there were old houses that physically looked like warehouses. They were two storey wooden houses, each of those inhabited by five to six families. Each family occupied a 3 x 2,5 meter room. I had been for so long wished to enter the house and looked what was inside. And so, I had to find an access and the only possible one would be a person living in it. Fortunately, I met Rifky, a teenage guy who were sitting in front of the house. He allowed me to enter the house, and climbed upstairs to get some shots from above.

It was nearly 5 PM and I had to return to Taman Sriwedari (Parade Plain) where my two friends were waiting. One of them said that he saw a family was allowed to enter the church of “Gereja Belenduk.” I was happy to hear that as the church had been closed for public since the issue of terrorism spread all over Indonesia.
I approached the security officer, asked him whether I could enter the church. He said that the church was about to be closed and I only had like three minutes left to enter. I didn’t want to miss it for sure. That was like my second visit since 2002. This time I was coming with a digital camera and the ultra-wide lens.

Well, the visit may be too short in time, but I was a bit satisfied to capture Semarang from different angles. At 7.30, we got on board, rode a night bus, and head back to Jakarta. I would return to capture the china town and of course, the Kampung Arab at Kauman.

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  1. Interesting Review. I enjoy reading it.
    If you will cover about the people someday, Semawis will be a nice spot. It's open only on weekend evening. You'll find a lot of street foods, many fortune tellers even street entaertainment such as street karaoke... For me it's very interesting...

    The foods will be simply irresistable... ;-)

  2. Hi Reiny,
    Thanks for the comment. I read about Semawis in a book and would like to go there one day. The only food in Semarang that I never can't resist is Loenpia ... :)

    I suppose I shall return for China town and come over to Semawis.

  3. Aditya a.k.a LeicaboyJune 17, 2011 at 3:16 PM

    it's always a pleasure to look and read your photo essay wibi! U rock!
    Kapan atuh foto2 lg? yg deket2 aja ya?
    Trus MP udah gak pernah dicolek lg donk?

  4. MP masih gue colek kok... Lu aja yang ga pernah mampir. Hehehehe ...