Tag Archives: kalimantan

Pangkalan Bun Kalimantan – an awesome visit with Bu Arfa and family

My time in Kalimantan will always be remembered… never really knowing what was going to happen next,  but always knowing it would be something worth experiencing…
Bu Cathy and I arrived latish on a saturday afternoon, having flown first from Padang to Jakarta and then fromJakarta to Pangkalan bun…. a little bit disoriented is a good way of describing it.  Bu Arfa and Bapak are there to meet us…..smiles, greetings  and into the car. On the way home a small visit to the newly opened Borneo mall…..packed with people

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Bright shiney and new! We mostly window shopped…. (they say they made 2 billion rupiah in a day….thats a lot of shopping!) Again on the way home we stopped off for a drink or 2 …enak sekali!!!

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The next morning….4:30am to be precise we were woken by bu Arfa and told we were going to see the sunrise with some friends who were waiting  downstairs. Bleary eyed we got ready for what we thought would  be a short trip ??? Haha! Wedrove and dozed. Eventually the state of the road woke us up

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Fresh  vegetables and tempe and tahu yummy !

We arrive at our destination having missed the sunrise, but a warm welcome and an interesting walk along the edge of the sea made up for our early rise.

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A fisherman trawling for tiny prawns – udang,

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A  boat in the process of being   built…..

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A beautifully textured seed

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The fisherman’s catch…

And later on a delicious picnic breakfast mmmmm!

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To be continued…..

Journey up the sekonyer River Kalimantan

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This morning we set out from Kumai on our kelotok with the captain, our guide , an assistant and the cook ( with her son 4years old). The sun was already hot as we clambered on board about 8:00 this morning. We were welcomed by our captain with coffee , snacks and smiles . We had a farewell cuppa with our family on board before they headed off to work and we headed up river.

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The breeze was a great relief ….though its not supposed to be monsoon season, it sure is acting like it. The humidity is fierce as the clouds build up during the day.

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The turn off into the national park from the Kumai river

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The Sekonyer river is permanently a dark chocolate colour, mainly from the gold mining that occurs  further upstream. It is an enormous waterway which is able to accomodate large ships and barges. As we move off from the town and into the Taman Nasional Tanggung Putih,  it is bordered on both sides by a dense layer of palm trees, the branches and leaves  used for roof  thatching. 

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As we move up the river it is like an unfolding story with a changing kaleidoscope of vegetation both on the edge and further inland  with the occassional waterway branching of to the side with glimpses of small villages perched in the swamp jungle.

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As we get further into the day the humidity continues to mount and by the time we arrive at Tanggung Harapan it was hot, tho the odd gentle breeze eased this somewhat.

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Here we rested and looked over the plant nursery and the medicine plant area. We marvelled at the butterflies  and the number of medicine plants there were…. finally  the heavens opened. The rain was welcome, the humidity lessened. Lunch was delicious kangkung, omelette, rice and sambal. It was accompanied by a welcome rainstorm which cooled things off for a time. ( I seem to have a metabolism, where I loose almost as much water as there is rain, an exaggeration of course but you can imagine, and then add glasses to that steaming away haha)

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While we were having lunch tied up at the jetty,  a steady stream of kelotoks began arriving….hoolie doolie! We have to share this idyll with others?
Indeed we did…by the time we had walked through the lush green tropical rainforest we found a crowd of eager people clicking away on their cameras and this isn’t high season!

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The orangutans ( oranghutan – man of the forest in indonesian) were just amazing! My viewing  of them was  somewhat conflicted….tinged with sadness because of the knowledge that their habitat is daily being decimated in search of the $, filled with awe that we humans are descended from them,  awe at how closely we resemble them, yet at the same time how different we are, filled with joy and laughter at their capacity to play, take care of their young…

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A slow leisurely walk back to our kelotok  through the forest…..

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An early night tucked up in our mosquito netted beds. To be cont.