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Despite the increasingly hectic work schedule, I managed to squeeze a little getaway last weekend (I owe you one, office folks!).

I went to Palangkaraya, which is the capital of Central Kalimantan. As I have mentioned in my previous post, the government is eyeing this area to become the new capital of governance. I can see that it does look somewhat promising.

view of the city from above

The city is well-planned (in comparison to Jakarta), has decent roads, despite the frighteningly HUGE holes in the pedestrian walk, and the weather is all right. A bit too hot and humid in midday, but still bearable.

Nevertheless, perhaps it all because the city has less population and less obnoxious malls, less slums, less traffic, and..well basically less of what’s been infesting Jakarta over the years. So if relocation means more people (with the same corrupt attitude), it may indeed end up the same way as the current capital, me thinks.

Oh, and despite the less population, there were already piles of trash and pungent smells in some areas.

Anyway, on with the pretty things. In Jalan Batam (Batam street), you can buy souvenirs with fairly sensible prices, especially if you bother to bargain a bit.

Perhaps most famous of the handicrafts from Kalimantan are beadworks, made into bracelets, necklaces, belts and even purse decorations. Here are some samples.


And then there’s the lovely fabrics! colorful with bold patterns, including, as I was informed: the tree of life, the elixir of life, etc. I pondered getting a shocking pink one with sword pattern, but, fearing that I might drown in all that intensity, bought one with subtler colors and smaller patterns instead.

Fabrics for sale! yum

The one I bought is likely made using the batik fabric painting technique, but there were also ones made using the “tenun” or weaving technique. The latter is slightly more glamorous, with its shiny threads, and heavier as well.

Most of the places to eat offer “Javanese” food, and the row of tents in Jalan Yos Sudarso mostly offer the same menu: Fried seafood. meh. Not to mention the annoyingly loud music blaring from the speakers. So I mostly eat stir-fries in Chinese food places. Sometimes they have meat in them too 😦

It’s sad to say that most likely the memorable dining experiences were the breakfasts at the hotel. I had an encounter with a ridiculously sweet soy bean porridge that was yummy nonetheless.

A certain restaurant called the Oriental was very helpful and listened patiently enough to get us meat-free stir fries. It was a special night.

We also tried to eat at the roadside warungs, which seemed pretty original. I ate yellow rice with a curried boiled egg and had some sweet traditional cakes filled with bananas and squash, wrapped in a banana leaf.

Warung food in the afternoon

However, the place was not very clean, and the previous night we were even discouraged by the smell of garbage.

So Palangkaraya was not bad indeed, but I think they shouldn’t take everything -good or bad- that’s happening with the city, for granted.


About thoughtsthatdance

I am not much of a dancer. I take wrong steps every now and then, but the mistakes can lead to laughter or lessons.

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