muesum balanga palangka raya

Based on personal Experience of the Author Sukma Suciati
Photo by Sukma Suciati and Kristalia Juliana

On a sunny Monday 23rd, I and my mother planned to go to Museum Balanga for my article materials, as it is the only public museum in Palangka Raya. We only wanted to look around the building, taking pictures, asking the guide if they were there, and of course, share all I got through the blog. That’s it. But who would have thought that I would be an impromptu tour guide for a foreign tourist? So, don’t expect this writing as a promotional one, because it is more like a personal experience.

On that confined day (because it was exactly before the Christmas day off), there were not so many people who worked on the governmental office. So did in Museum Balanga. That was why, when we entered the gate of the museum, there was nobody in the ticket section. We just kept going in without taking any tickets. We thought we would meet the person in charge of the exhibition room and pay the ticket later.

Right before we touched the exhibition veranda, my gaze was locked on something peculiar to my left. Last time I came here (around 2013), that light-yellow-painted building was not opened yet, and it was opened as ‘Tjilik Riwut’s Grant Room’. Because it was such a new thing for me, I planned to visit it after the main exhibition room first.

We entered the main exhibition room, which is written as Ruang Etnografi Museum Balanga (Ethnography Room of Museum Balanga). This is the main exhibition room or building in the museum complex where you can find all about Kalimantan Tengah. Its history, nature, culture, customs, and many more. Oh, don’t forget to fill the guest book on the receptionist’s desk!

No one stood at the receptionist’s desk, so we just wrote down our name and signed it. But a woman with a dark yellow-green uniform (civil servant uniform) came toward us, informing that we could enjoy the display first, then paid the ticket afterward.

She asked my intention why did I visit the museum. So I told her that I was gonna write an article about it. She thought I was a journalist at first, but I told her then, that I came here as a tour guide who wanted to write an article. She seemed upset, but she relieved as I explained about my company (Central Borneo Guide), even looked happier. Because it is pretty seldom to find a tour guide around, especially the one who can also speak English. She let me look around and allowed me to publish or promote it afterward.

But then, a woman, with a black t-shirt and jeans trousers, just came and signed her name at the receptionist’s desk. This civil servant woman came to her, while I was looking at the display and explanation about the history of Central Borneo. Suddenly they came toward me, even the civil servant woman introducing us to each other, mentioned that I am a tour guide here. This woman’s name was Misako, who came from Japan. I actually wanted to make fun of my name, because Cici (mostly people pronounce it as Chichi), means father in Japanese.

“I already saw all of the things, but it’s okay to look around again, and better if you can explain it in English”, she said in a fluent Bahasa.

Well, I was surprised by her fluent accent at first. But then, she told me that she already visited Solo, Central Java, and stayed there for a few months before she came to Central Kalimantan. And most importantly, this was her very first visit to Central Kalimantan. All I thought was, “Okay, keep calm, keep doing your best, you got the museum guide beside, all you have to do is just translate it.”. I could not deny that I got my nerve back then, and I had to make a good impression about Central Kalimantan, out of the blue!

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