The Amazing Bull Race

Oct 23rd, 2012, in Travel, by

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

Episode 2 Preview

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, SurabayaODONG-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.

Maudrese Costume at Pasar Pabean, SurabayaPITSTOP: PASAR PABEAN, SURABAYA
The greeter is wearing traditional Madurese costume, just like local politician Zahrus Faisal.

Episode 3

Balancing Plates in a Padang RestaurantANTIKA 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.

Monster truckers travelling by becak (pedicab) in Bangil, East JavaRIDING 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 in Bangil, East JavaEGG 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:

East Java

View The Amazing Race 21 – East Java in a larger map


View The Amazing Race 21 – Surabaya in a larger map

5 Comments on “The Amazing Bull Race”

  1. Patung says:

    Should be expecting a huge influx of overweight American tourists into Surabaya and surrounds now then… probably not.

    Pasar Pabean is a great place….. Whoever put together that show though certainly did some good research…

    But where was Monkasel?

    And a nighttime activity at Kembang Kuning cemetery? The list is endless.

  2. Patrick says:

    @David – that’s hilarious considering your Australia is by far the biggest exporter of female Heffers into Indonesia. Speaking of Heffers, I just saw a few pictures of some home grown Indonesia cows. Why is this happening? My guess is that all the new found prosperity earned today by Indonesian women gives them an opportunity to supersize their meals and get some much needed loving from those super stud Kuta cowboys….. Ha ha ha!

  3. Chris says:

    Hi Patrick,

    Most of the cows in East Java are dairy cattle, not beef cattle (or running bulls). One of the more “premium” brands of milk, Greenfields, says on its website:

    PT Greenfields Indonesia imports the finest quality Holstein dairy cows from Australia.

    Personally, I’m still wondering why they went to Bangil, not e.g. Malang, Bromo.

  4. masigit says:

    if you go to surabaya again you should be to taste kerupuk (the crackers)

  5. yaomin says:

    Personally, I’m still wondering why they went to Bangil, not e.g. Malang, Bromo.

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