Published: April 17th 2010April 12th 2010
At the Banjarmasin airport it is total chaos, there were only 2 luggage carousels and lots of flights just arrived so the claim area is teeming with people. Eventually my pack turned up and I booked a taxi from the taxi service booth, 80,000 rupiahs to town, it's 30 minutes away, and it started pouring down rain, this city is spread out and is quite big, we arrived at my preferred hotel Hotel SAS one of the best in town says LP but the prices have gone up and they have no fan room, the standard is 199,000 rupiahs! So I balked and asked the staff to show me a better hotel please, just then a guy in a motorbike arrived and spoke good English, at first I thought he owned the place but turns out he is Yadi Yasin, one of the guides that LP recommended! He is very friendly and helpful and offered to take me to another hostel called Hotel Perdana, 80,000 rupiahs a night, but we have to wait out the rain as his only transport is motorbike I dont want to get wet. While killing time we chattered with the staff both guys and turns out
they are a big fan of Manny Pacquiao! I was touched when they said they are so proud of Pacquiao, he is a big hero here too, they are proud that he is Southeast Asian!
The rain abated and we motorbiked our way to Perdana hotel, it looks new from the outside but the rooms are ageing fast, its ok my room is not bad, 2 beds ,a basic toilet, fan, a tv for 80,000 rupiahs a night. They have afternoon tea and breakfast as well included. I am starving so Yadi took me to a bakso place while he goes back to SAS hotel, he goes to both hotels to find backpackerss and sell them tours, he is hardworking and good natured and I think I will do some trips with him like the floating market and some villages. That night I used the wifi at a coffee shop nearby only they blocked facebook and hotmail so cant really chat! Annoyed I left quickly, then i heard someone call me it's Yadi in his motorbike, he wanted to show me where I will meet the boatman for tomorrows morning floating market trip so I quickly dropped my computer
in the room and off we go, we get to this area where the boat will dock, the alleyway that leads there looks dodgy, i think it's called Jln Pos and this is the river Martapura. from there we went to the Niaga market to find some feed but only a few stalls are open on a Sunday and nothing much to choose from so we headed to this restaurant whose specialty is duck and it's heavenly delicious!
I was so hungry I had 2 orders!
Yadi dropped me off at my hotel after I took money out from the ATM oh and also managed to book flight ticket to Balikpapan. So off to bed now and I requested a wake up call at 5am tomorrow. A knock on the door at exactly 5am the front desk wake up call. I got ready and when I went down I was surprised to see Yadi waiting for me, he decided to give me a ride to the dock, good thing as it is still quite dark and like I said looks dodgy at dark. We found Bayun, the boatman there and I got on, but 30 seconds later when we
ageing hotel at 70,000 single
just got to the middle of the river we stopped, the engine conked out! Took Bayung awhile to fix it meanwhile boats pass us left and right I was worried cause no one uses lights, torch or anything I feel like we ware an accident waiting to happen. Finally the engine starts and off we go again, total 1 1/2 hour slow boat to the floating market, this is the more traditional one, there's a new floating market but this one is better says Yadi. We passed by many houses on stilts whose residents are just getting up and ready for their bath in the river, some brushing their teeth, some going to the toilet, so that's what those booths are for.. I felt sick watching them, the water is murky and dirty with things floating about not counting their wastes, they use the water for everything, with a bucket just scoops out straight from their patio!
In fairness though i am not used to this so am appalled but they are living here for years now and they are accustomed to this already, they have been exposed to the bacterias in the water for so long they have
now develop immnutiy to them and don't get sick, it becomes normal flora in their stomach, but a traveller like me will certainly have major issues if I use this water to brush my teeth! I saw a young boy drinking from it! A woman gets water from it too to cook rice! Oh well what an experience to see them living their normal lives, i am intruding in their privacy so am a bit discreet when it comes to photography.
Then we found the floating market, bunch of boats with produce they float together in one lump following the tides, it's so colorful and lively, we followed and floated with them for maybe an hour or so, me clicking away I used up 2 memory cards! the locals don't mind it, I was the only tourist there! This is a must see for travellers! They sell fruits, prawns, breakfasts,hats, among other things. I did not say a word the whole time and just absorbed the moment. hen it's time to go back.
We got back at 9am and thanked the boatman I walked back to the hotel and chill out, and check my fotos, my Nikon d80 has
some problems, all of my photos have a black line on the top left hand corner! Well my fotos are not exactly ruined, they can pass as birds flying overhead, cause it looks like that! But i decided it's time to clean my camera only after 2 hours of fiddling with it, it never came off! So annoyed! time to check the manual, it says it maybe dirt in the low level filter but it's best to have a professional to do it whilst I make the matters worse, meaning I have to bring it to a shop. To cool off i decided to have a walk around and clear my head, I found myself crossing the bridge and then back just observing the daily goings on in near the river, there;s nothing much really interesting to photograph, other than the river, it's a bland city with malls and shops. i had lunch at the eatery next door to the hotel, some chicken soup with rice, it's not my favorite! then took my computer and walked to Hotel Mentari and asked the front desk if I can use their wifi, certainly he says and gives me the code for it,
very nice people here. Later on I ordered tea to make it look like I belong there.
In the eve I met up with Yadi again and he took me to a local eatery along a busy road, I had chicken dish with some veggies and a hot sauce, food here is good if you know where to find them. There are lots of stalls but some only specializes in one particular dish, not much selection. It rained this afternoon so I cancelled my trip to see floating villages, thought I already seen their way of life when I did the market in the morning. Yadi told the front desk at Hotel Perdana to give me a wake up call at 6:30am, it came and went no one knocked on the door, good thing I woke up myself. Then there is no breakfast! I was a bit disappointed with Kalimantan, accommodations are not necessarily cheap, it's either rough basic but cheap or mid range no hostels here.And I have been flying and not cheap either, buses here are atrocious and I don't feel like going through it so I'd rather pay. Also Yadi told me not every hotel in
not a telephone booth..
Banjarmasin takes foreigners because they have to have a special license to do so and some don't want to pay for it so they will turn you down if you try to check in.Time for me to leave Kalimantan, off to Balikpapan for a long 9 hour layover, I will chill at the Blue Sky lounge even if I have to pay, food included, free wifi and they check in for you. next you hear from me I will be in another island.
There are more photos below