Saturday 11 August 2007 I successfully forced Angie to accompany me to go around Semarang to take some pictures of this dearest hometown of mine. J I have had this idea for several months, especially since my friends at one mailing list welcomed my writing about “Semarang Pesona Asia” warmly. Four weeks ago, Angie and I visited Lawang Sewu-on July 15, 2007 there was cultural exhibit there-and we took some pictures of the building. Then we went to Gedung Batu Sam Po Kong, to take some pictures of trees that have long roots hanging from one branch to another, something amazing to my Abang. After that visit, I asked Angie to continue our ‘adventure’. And we did it yesterday, 11 August 2007.
Below you can see the pictures of Jalan Pemuda, one main street in Semarang.
To welcome “Semarang Pesona Asia” event, some main streets are decorated with Chinese lantern. When reading the news in Suara Merdeka, I didn’t consider it too much to promote one ethnic group. However, one expert in culture, Djawahir Muhammad said that the government played favorite to a certain ethnic group by decorating some main streets with those lanterns. He said that Semarang citizens are divided into three ethnic groups: Arabian, Javanese, and Chinese. He even mentioned an acronym that is totally new for me: ARWANA (ARab, JaWA, ChiNA). (This made me wonder of Tukul popular comedian from Semarang chose ARWANA as his last name from this acronym?) He suggested that the government was supposed to accommodate the three ethnic groups when decorating the main streets.
As someone who is always fascinated by Chinese culture, I don’t mind it at all. Besides, from the book “Semarang Tempoe Doeloe” we cannot deny the Chinese influence in forming Semarang culture because in the past, many Chinese people became landlords here, together with Dutch people in the previous centuries.
To counter what Djawahir Muhammad said, Prof. Eko Budiharjo stated that it was okay for the government to decorate the main streets with those lanterns. Nevertheless, he also didn’t deny that it would be more advisable that the government used different special characters in some special areas. For example, in Pecinan (Chinatown), it is okay to hang as many Chinese lanterns as possible for decoration. In the Old City area, the government can give decoration that is closely related to European heritage. (Aha … I am wondering if in the Old City area there are many people having European blood living there?)
When talking about this to my sister, she asked, “Where about do you think people with Arabian blood live in Semarang so that the decoration can be related to Arabian heritage?” There is one area called ‘Pekojan’ in Semarang. If Pecinan is from China word, Pekojan is from Koja word, that refers to people from India, or probably Arab too. however, ‘Pekojan’ is also a part of Pecinan.
Below you can see the pictures of the Town Hall (Balai Kota) located on Jalan Pemuda.
Below you see the pictures of some shops selling Semarang special food, such as lumpia, wingko babat, bandeng presto, some traditional food (jajan pasar) etc. During long weekend or holiday these shops located on Jalan Pandanaran are always full of visitors coming to Semarang. This made Jalan Pandanaran one busiest street, and sometimes traffic jam happens there.
Below you can see the picture of Java Mall, one biggest mall in Semarang that is full of decoration/banner to welcome “Semarang Pesona Asia” event.
The pictures below are some tent cafes located on Jalan Pahlawan. This is also to welcome the big event so that the street vendors on that street, and some other areas too, such as around Simpang Lima look tidier.
Angie and I also visited Masjid Agung Jawa Tengah. There are many visitors coming from out of town. I can see it from the buses and cars parked in the parking lot. I am wondering whether they come to fulfill their curiosity to take a look at this grand mosque closely (now that religious tour has become a trend recently), or whether they come because of the spectacular event, SPA.
Next we had lunch in one tent café located on Jalan Menteri Supeno. Our menu for our lunch on that Saturday was: tahu gimbal, rujak, and es teler.
Tahu gimbal (it consists of chili sauce with peanut, tofu, lontong, shrimp, etc.)
Rujak (some kinds of fruit and chilli sauce)
At the same time there was decorating plants exhibition close by, perhaps also to welcome SPA. Therefore there were more customers coming to café tents located around there.
The last place we visited is the Old City area. Below is the picture of the main post office in Semarang. The building is also one heritage from Dutch colonization.
Below are some pictures of Jalan Merak. The street has been especially decorated for SPA.
Some buildings in the Old City area are still in good condition, especially when those buildings are made use by some companies. Some other buildings were terribly damaged and very filthy. :(
Gereja Blenduk from different angles.
One thing we must not forget, along the street there are many people who sell flags to welcome the Independence Day.
Below are some pictures of banners special for the great event, Semarang Pesona Asia.
All pictures were taken using the digital camera in Sony Ericsson K510i mobile phone, on August 11, 2007, around 11.00-14.00.
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