Monday, 10 October 2011

Floating market and Monkey Island!

6th October 2011

Floating Market

Got up at 4am and went to catch a boat to go to the floating market at about 5am. Banjarmasin is known as the city of a thousand rivers because there is so much water around, lots of canals and rivers throughout the city. Many people here live all along the edge of the rivers, much like I saw in Kerala (India), with their houses built on stilts. Their toilets drop straight into the river, people bathe and swim in the river, brush their teeth in the river and I even saw someone drinking from the river - you can see it all in one glance, I don't know how they're not all seriously ill! The water was filthy!

The boat took us for maybe 20 mins down the river until we saw the candle lights that indicate the start of the floating market. The floating market is held on a stretch of the river marked by large candles where lots of traders meet using small boats laden with fruit, veg and cooked snacks to sell. You go by boat to bargain with the traders, many people using similar small boats but some go aboard larger motor boats like us.

Its still pretty dark at 5am so the traders use torches to help you see what they have for sale. When we arrived the traders rowed towards us and offered us their stock, we bargained for some bananas and oranges to feed to the monkeys on a nearby island where we would go later on after the floating market.


Monkey Island

On the way back from the floating market we went to a small island called Pulau Kembang (flower island), but I like to think of it as monkey island. Its covered with trees and there are no human inhabitants, just lots of monkeys! Theres a little pier with a couple of huts there, and some people work there to basically get money from the tourists. You pay to go beyond the pier onto the island, and they accompany you.
So as we approach the pier I can see lots of monkeys.. as we got nearer the monkeys all jumped aboard before we had even docked and stole the bag of bananas we intended to feed them! I managed to save the bag of oranges though, for a moment!

PhotobucketI climbed off the boat onto the pier and started to try and feed the oranges to the monkeys one at a time, but the monkeys basically attacked me! They climbed all over me, up my back, along my arms to the bag and tore it to shreds to get the tasty treats within! I was left with part of the handle of a carrier bag! They also tried to steal my glasses which I managed to save and stash in my pocket! It was comedy!



We went onto the island and the monkeys followed us as the guides threw handfuls of nuts for them. There were so many monkeys!




A lot of games fans will know of a classic game called The Secret of Monkey Island.. Well, now I can say I've been there! And I didn't even need to use a rubber chicken! :P

Traditional Indonesia House
Next stop was a 200 year old traditional Indonesian house. There are not many examples of these left and although the government doesn't own it they are helping to preserve it. The owner is almost 100 years old and still lives there with her daughter. Its huge inside. We went in and had a look around and chatted to the owners for a while.

Durian Fail

PhotobucketI am intent on trying the legendary Durian fruit while I'm in Indonesia so we stopped on the way home at a couple of places to try and buy some. However, Durian fruit is very expensive and having a 6 foot white guy with you is not the best bargaining tool so we couldn't get a good price. Will have to wait til later, and maybe I'll hide!

Busy day!

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