The current 21st series of American travel game show “The Amazing Race” made a return visit to Indonesia for Episodes 2 & 3, this time visiting East Java – perhaps as previously suggested here.
An arek Suroboyo (local resident) discusses certain “only in Indonesia” activities that contestants had to perform:
Episode 2 Preview
BULL RACING IN BANGKALAN, MADURA ISLAND
Bull racing is Madura’s most famous sport and its biggest cultural export, despite no betting/gambling (which is forbidden for Muslims). However, the show passed over some less pleasant facts about bull racing, like how this year’s bull races have been cancelled due to prevalent animal cruelty. In order to “motivate” the bulls, riders and handlers allegedly give the bulls a chili suppository or put hot balm in the bulls’ eyes – that would really make them “see red”! – then hit them with a spiked whip during the race.
ODONG-ODONG IN TAMAN EKSPRESI, SURABAYA
Odong-odong (customised pedicabs with toys to ride) is a common feature of Surabaya, both in public parks like Taman Ekspresi and “roving” around neighbourhoods. A 10-15 minute ride for a young child plus balloon crown and animal costs Rp2000 ($0.20). They usually also come with a cassette of children’s music at ear-burning volume; curiously, this was absent.
PITSTOP: PASAR PABEAN, SURABAYA
The greeter is wearing traditional Madurese costume, just like local politician Zahrus Faisal.
ANTIKA JAYA PADANG RESTAURANT, SURABAYA
Contestants had to balance 20 plates of food and carry them to the required table. Yes, local waiters/waitresses have to do it regularly too. However, personal experience is these days it is only done in larger restaurants for groups. For everybody else, guests just say what they want and will receive one plate with their order.
RIDING BECAK, BANGIL
The becak (pedicab) is a common choice of inexpensive transport for short trips, even in cities like Surabaya where there are many taxis, but not the capital Jakarta, where becak are banned. The general practice is to say the destination and negotiate a fare before hopping in.
EGG HEAD, BANGIL
Having eggs fried with a burning coconut husk on your head is a lesser-known traditional Javanese cooking method; perhaps it is rare because willing participants are hard to find… Surprisingly, no one had a problem eating the newly cooked egg drowned in chili sauce afterwards (like many would).
If you would like to visit some of these places, here are some maps: