Wednesday, August 31, 2016


Jakarta, Aug 31, 2016 (Antara)- Dodoi (63) was fishing using a very simple string and a small hook. He usually got several small snake-head fish  or sepat fish (Trichogaster leeri), and sometimes few shrimps, too.
        Not much that he could collect but it was not bad as he fished from his home, to be exact in a hole that he made in his kitchen.
        Like many inhabitants of Banjarmasin, he built his nice and quite big house above a swampy area with the support of a number of strong pillars.
        Banjarmasin, in the old day called Bandar Masih, is an old city founded in September 1526, or 490 years ago.
        Now having a population of nearly 700 thousand, Banjarmasin is basically a swampy area measuring 98 km2 with at least 102 rivers.
        The major rivers are Barito and Martapura, which split the city and in fact the heartbeats of the city, as various daily activities particularly commercial ones, are carried out in the rivers.
        When he was a little, Dodoi, his brothers and sisters, his parents and most of his neighbors had to go to Martapura River located across his home for bathing.
        At that time, the water was relatively clean and clear as he could see fish and shrimp swimming around.
        As there were 11 siblings in his family, which was not categorized as rich, Dodoi and his elder brothers had often gone for fishing in the river and later they had given the fish to their mother for additional meal of the family.

        Unfortunately, as the population and industry grew, Martapura River as well as other rivers in Banjarmasin, became very dirty and polluted.
        The pollution in Banjarmasin's rivers had happened for years, and hardly anyone bathed in the rivers.
        At present, fortunately, Banjarmasin City has made a significant transformation, thanks to the public awareness and the government's plan to develop new tourist destinations as many as possible, in addition to Bali.     
   The Banjarmasin municipality administration has been working hard to clean the main rivers and clear their banks from buildings, and replaced them with various flower plants and trees.
         Banjarmasin Mayor Ibnu Sina said the city has no mines nor timber forest, but just rivers.
         So, there is no choice but transforming the existing rivers into the drivers of the city's economy, according to him.
         The rivers have become a focus of the local government's development since the previous administration of the then mayor Muhidin.
        The local authorities have been developing South Kalimantan Province's capital into a water front city.
        Banjarmasin is determined to strengthen its entity as "a city of one thousand rivers". Moreover the city's tourism office wants to develop Banjarmasin into a Venice of Indonesia.
        Rivers have been very important for business and economic activities, therefore there are floating markets almost everywhere.
       Since long time ago, the city has already been famous for its floating market, where local traders offer vegetables, fruit, fish, and traditional culinary such as "soto" (soup) Banjar and "Ketupat Kandangan" with snake-head fish and coconut milk sauce.
        They also sell very testy Banjar "wadai" (traditional cakes). There are at least 41 "wadai" that are a must to be tried, such as Putri Selat, Amparan Tatak, Bingka Barandam, Papare, and Kalalapon.
        Most of the sellers are women wearing traditional common dresses and  big "tanggui" hats made of palm leaves, aboard long canoes.
        Buyers or tourists also have to be aboard canoes to approach them or buy their products.  
    Banjarmasin is also have some other attractive tourist destinations, like Sultan Suriansyah mosque, Sabilal Muhtadin great mosque, Martapura river, Maskot park and Agro tourism park.
        Tourists who visit Banjarmasin, can take a river tour which starts from Martapura river to Kuin river, Kuin creek floating market, Kemang island, Barito river and back to Martapapura river.
        Kemang Island is right in the Barito river, not far from a floating market. It is a conservation forest of about 60 hectares, inhabited by a lot of monkeys of Kalimantan species, including  "bekantan" (nasalis larvatus), which is the icon of South Kalimantan.
          The island is mostly visited by Chinese Indonesians, as there is a small offering temple where they can feed the monkeys. They believe that feeding the monkeys will bring good luck and fortune.
         Another interesting island is Kaget island which is also in the Barito river.
        Kaget Island is a forest conservation and also inhabited by the "bekantan" monkeys and the Lutung (prebitis orisate), as well as many kinds of birds. ***1***
(T.F001/A/BESSR/A/Yosep) 31-08-2016 23:45:06

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