Isen Mulang Festival

Its been a wild couple of week. The Isen Mulang Festival, an annual celebration of Dayak culture, has just closed. The city was awash with festivities, as representatives from tribes all around Kalimantan descended on Palangka Raya for dancing competitions, a crafts and trade show, a huge carnival and displays.

IMG_20160520_140434Best of all, we were invited by Wow Borneo to participate in a huge flotilla of ships, decked out to the nines which cruise up and down the Palangka Raya river, animated with traditional dancers and musicians. One had a huge hornbill, the region’s symbol, and another had a giant dragon’s head that shot water from its mouth!

IMG_20160520_165934The boats represent groups from around Kalimantan and compete in this huge public spectacle every year. People crowd the river on all sides and passenger boats swarm around to view the spectacle.IMG_20160520_165302

We were very lucky to be invited to ride and decorate one of Wow Borneo’s fleet, a gorgeous ex-logging ship that has now been donated for conservation purposes. We spent the morning affixing puppets and fresh cut snake fruit palm leaves until it looked fantastic. We then enjoyed the rest of the day cruising along the river, operating the puppets on the upper deck, heaven!13226637_1769764986577322_4999608026731599887_n