Banjarmasin: The Canal Tour

South Kalimantan

March 8, 2015

Who needs to travel to the jungle to watch the orangutans?  The antics of young children are much more entertaining!

My quiet City Tour begins with a visit to Mesjid Raya Sabilal Muhtadin, a massive mosque that my guidebook describes as “resembling a landed spaceship.” 

We continue to Soetji Nurani, a Chinese temple where we encounter a group of young girls in local costume.

We stop at the obligatory batik shop where I choose a perfectly outrageous cotton shirt.

For the main attraction, I board a small motorboat for a Canal Tour.

On my sunny afternoon excursion through the canals of this delta city, I am warmly greeted by dozens of girls and boys.  From the rooftops, they wave with energy, smile with affection, holler with enthusiasm, dive with abandon and splash and swim up to my boat for a boisterous and wet “high five.” 

Parents encourage their youngest children to wave to me from the walkways outside their simple wooden homes along the canal. 

Saturday today, I am reminded of the anticipation and excitement of the Saturday movie matinee of my own childhood.  Yet, the value of the entertainment today exceeds all the cartoons and Westerns of those cinemas long ago.

Today is real.  The kids are real.  The connection is real.  The humanity is real.

Why is it that folks who have so little in their pockets have so much to offer?

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