Fifty miles from land the sea assumes a different aspect through the fresh water of the great Barito flowing on the surface. Its red hue is produced by particles of soil brought from the inland of Borneo. In the beginning of December I arrived at Bandjermasin, the principal town in Dutch Borneo, inhabited for the most part by Malays and Chinese. It is the seat of the Resident of the vast South and Eastern Division and has a garrison. The sea loudly announces its presence here, the tide overflowing much of the low ground, hence the Malay name, bandjir = overflow, masin = salt water. Large clumps of a peculiar water-plant float on the river in Bandjermasin in great numbers, passing downward with the current, upward with the tide, producing a singular, but pleasing sight. It is originally a native of America and has attractive light-blue flowers, but multiplies to such an extent that the growth finally may interfere with traffic. In India I saw a lagoon completely choked with it.

There is one hotel where the table is fair and the beds are clean, but blankets are considered unnecessary, and only sheets are provided. The climate was not as hot as I expected, nights and mornings being surprisingly cool. Early in July of the following year the morning temperature was about 73 F. (23 C). Malaria is rare here, but there are frequent indications of beri-beri.

Friends invited me to go on an excursion to a small island, Kambang, where there are a number of monkeys to whom Malays who desire children sacrifice food. On our arrival the animals came to meet us in a way that was almost uncanny, running like big rats in the tall grass on the muddy beach. Many remnants of sacrificial offerings were strewn about.

Two years later I was again in Bandjermasin, when an elderly American and his wife appeared upon the scene-tourists, by the way, being very unusual here. At the breakfast table they asked a young Dutchman the whereabouts of the church and museum, and he replied that he did not think there was either in the town. As a matter of fact there is a small wooden Dutch church hidden away in a back street. Moreover, in 1914 the Resident, who at that time was Mr. L.F.J. Rijckmans, had a house built, in Malay style of architecture, for the safekeeping of Bornean industrial and ethnological objects which had been on view at the exhibition at Samarang in Java, thus forming the nucleus of a museum which at some future time may be successfully developed. The Kahayan Dayaks, not far away to the north, make exquisite cigar-cases from rattan, while the Bugis weave attractive cotton goods, resembling silk, with an original and pleasing colour combination.

The Europeans have a lawn-tennis court where they usually play every afternoon. In Bandjermasin is the headquarters of a German missionary society whose activities are confined mainly to the Kahayan River. They are Protestants and worked for a great number of years without making any noteworthy impression on the natives, but of late years they have been more successful. Catholics, who came later, have a station on the Mahakam River. The government wisely has separated Protestant and Catholic missionary activities, restricting the former to the southern part of the country, the latter to the northern.

There is no difficulty about getting up along the east coast northward as far as the Bulungan, which was my immediate aim. The Royal Dutch Packet Boat Company adheres to a schedule of regular fortnightly steamship connection. On the way a stop is made at Balik Papan, the great oil-producing centre, with its numerous and well-appointed tanks and modern equipment, reminding one of a thriving town in America. One of the doctors in this prosperous place told me that his two children of four and six years enjoyed excellent health. Dysentery was prevalent among the coolies, and occasionally cases of malaria occurred, but malaria is found even in Holland, he added.

As we sailed up the Kutei River in the early morning, approaching Samarinda, an attractive scene presented itself. Absolute calm and peace reigned, a slight morning mist rising here and there before us and giving a touch of charm to the vista of modest white houses that stretched along the beach in their tropical surroundings. Samarinda lies almost on the equator, but nights and mornings are always cool, even to a greater degree than in Bandjermasin. Northeast Borneo and North Celebes have a comparatively cool climate, but from Samarinda southward it is warmer. I called on the assistant Resident, in whose office a beautiful blue water-rail, with a red head, walked unconcernedly about. He advised me that this was the worst time for travelling, when the northwest monsoons, which are accompanied by much rain, are blowing.

The peace and contentment among the natives here, mostly Malays, impresses one favourably. They are all very fond of their children and take good care of them. The crying of children is a sound that is rarely heard. It was my fortune to travel over two years in the Dutch Indies; it is gratifying to state that during that time I never saw a native drunk, cit her in Java or Borneo. My visits did not extend to the Muruts in the north of Borneo, who are known to indulge excessively in native rice brandy. Nor was I present at any harvest feast, but according to reliable report, "strong drink is seldom or never abused" by the tribes of Borneo. The Muruts and the Ibans are the exceptions.

Two days later, among mighty forests of nipa-palms, we sailed up the Kayan or Bulungan River and arrived at Tandjong Selor, a small town populated by Malays and Chinese, the number of Europeans being usually limited to two, the controleur and the custom-house manager. It lies in a flat swampy country and on the opposite side of the river, which here is 600 metres wide, lives the Sultan of Bulungan. I secured a large room in a house which had just been rented by two Japanese who were representatives of a lumber company, and had come to arrange for the export of hardwood from this part of Borneo.

Accompanied by the controleur, Mr. R. Schreuder, I went to call on the Sultan. He was a man of about thirty-five years, rather prepossessing in appearance, and proud of his ancestry, although time has so effaced his Dayak characteristics that he looks like a Malay. Dato Mansur, his executive, met us at the landing and escorted us into the presence of the Sultan and his wife, where we were offered soda-water and whiskey, and we remained an hour. They are both likeable, but the Sultan appears rather nervous and frail, and it is rumoured that his health has suffered as a result of overindulgence in spiritualistic seances. He gave an entertaining account of natives living in the trees on the Malinau River. As it had been impossible for me to obtain cartridges for my Winchester rifle, the Sultan was kind enough to lend me one of his before we parted, as well as two hundred cartridges. He also obligingly sent Dato Mansur up the river to Kaburau, the principal Kayan kampong (village) to secure men and boats for an intended expedition inland from there.

The main business of Tandjong Selor, as everywhere in Borneo, is buying rattan, rubber, and damar (a kind of resin) from the Malays and the Dayaks, and shipping it by steamer to Singapore. As usual, trade is almost entirely in the hands of the Chinese. The great event of the place is the arrival of the steamer twice a month. When the whistle is heard from down the river a great yell arises from all over the town. The steamer is coming! People by the hundreds run down to the wharf amid great excitement and joy. Many Malays do not work except on these occasions, when they are engaged in loading and unloading. The principal Chinese merchant there, Hong Seng, began his career as a coolie on the wharf. He has a fairly well-stocked store with some European and American preserved articles, and was reliable in his dealings, as the Chinese always are. He was rich enough to have of late taken to himself a young wife, besides keeping his first one. His two young sons who assisted him had been at school in Singapore, and were proud to air their knowledge of English.

The house where I lived was on the main street, on the river bank, and in the evening the little shops on either side started playing nasty, cheap European phonographs the noise of which was most disagreeable. Most of the records were of Chinese music, the harsh quality of which was magnified tenfold by the imperfections of the instruments. When the nerve-wracking concert became intolerable, they were always good enough to stop it at my request.

However, there was one feature about this remote place which was repugnant - the prevalent flogging of children with rattan, mostly among the Mohammedan Malays. Not a day passed without wails and violent cries arising in some part of the town, especially during the forenoon, although I did not perceive that the children here were more incorrigible than elsewhere. The Dayaks never beat their children, and later I did not observe similar cruelty among Malays. Wise though King Solomon was, his precept not to spare the rod should be regarded in the light of his large family, "700 wives, princesses, and 300 concubines." Even in the training of animals, better results are obtained by omitting the lash.

In the beginning of January, 1914, I was able to start for Kaburau. The controleur courteously provided for my use the government's steamship Sophia, which in six hours approached within easy distance of the kampong. My party consisted of Ah Sewey, a young Chinese photographer from Singapore whom I had engaged for developing plates and films, also Chonggat, a Sarawak Dayak who had had his training at the museum of Kuala Lampur in the Malay Peninsula. Finally, Go Hong Cheng, a Chinese trader, acted as interpreter and mandur (overseer). He spoke several Dayak dialects, but not Dutch, still less English, for Malay is the lingua franca of the Dutch Indies as well as of the Malay Peninsula. As we anchored for the night I heard for the first time, from the hills that rose near by, the loud defiant cry of the argus pheasant. How wildly weird it sounds on a quiet evening!

The next morning the Kayans met us with boats to take us up to their kampong, Kaburau. Some women were pounding paddi (rice) under the large communal house which, in accordance with the custom of the country, was raised from the ground on posts. Dogs were much in evidence, both on the ground below and on the gallery of the house above. The canine species kept by the Dayaks have erect ears, are rather small and their colour is usually dull yellow. Here they were variously coloured, some entirely black, and fights among them were of frequent occurrence. Ascending the ladder I found a large tame bird of the stork family chained to the gallery, for the Dayaks often keep birds and animals in their houses.

The chief very hospitably had prepared one room for all four of us to lodge in, which did not exactly suit me, as I like to have a place where at times I may be chez moi, for the night at least. There was no suitable place outside for my tent, so I decided to paddle a few hundred kilometres up the river to a dilapidated camping-house for travellers, put up by the Dayaks under government order. Such a house is called pasang-grahan and may be found in many out-of-the-way places in Borneo.

Though generally crude and unpretentious huts where travelling soldiers or Malays put up, these shelters are very useful, especially for the night. There is another kind of pasang-grahan, comfortable structures provided with beds, similar to the rest-houses in India. In the more civilised parts these are built for the use of officials and other travellers. The one referred to had roof and walls of palm leaves, and as a matter of course, stood on piles. Though said to be only three years old it was already very shaky; still after clearing away the grass and some of the jungle next to it, we established quite a comfortable camp.

Chonggat brought in a number of birds and animals here, among them the lovely raja bird, snow-white except for the deep blue head, and with a very long graceful tail. It is also called paradise flycatcher (terpsiphone), and is found from Sumatra up into middle China. In Borneo it is quite common, being observed also on the Mahakam in the central part of the island. According to the legend, it formerly cost a man his life to kill it. This man soon showed himself to be an excellent worker who took his business very seriously and did not allow himself to be distracted when I amused visiting Kayans with simple moving pictures and by playing a music-box. The jungle, dripping with dew in the early morning, did not deter him, and at night it was his custom to shoot owls and hunt for deer or other animals. After arranging his tent with little or no help from the Dayaks, he would next put up a frame-work on which to dry his skins, under a roof of palm leaves; here a fire was always kept, without which the skins would have spoiled in that damp climate. Chonggat had a fine physique, was always pleasant and willing and was possessed of more than ordinary intelligence withal. Also keenly humourous, he enjoyed my initial mistakes in Malay, though maintaining a proper respect for the leader of the expedition.

In the evening, having retired for the day, he, as well as the Chinese photographer could be heard in their respective tents studying English from small guidebooks which they had brought along. He told me that his earnings were invested in a small rubber plantation which he and his brothers worked together. Chonggat was a good example of what a native of Borneo can accomplish under proper civilizing influences.

One morning he brought in a king cobra (naia bungarus) which he had shot, and as life was not yet extinct I got a good photograph of it. This serpent was about three metres long, but these very poisonous snakes, called ular tadong by the Malays, attain a length of seven metres. They are beautifully formed for quick movement, and will attack human beings, the female being particularly vicious when it has eggs. "When I see ular tadong coming toward me," said Chonggat, who was no coward, "then I run." There are several species of very poisonous snakes in Borneo, but according to my experience they are not very numerous. Two small ones, about thirty-five centimetres long, are the most common varieties encountered in the jungle. They are sluggish and somewhat similar in appearance, dark brown and red being the principal colours. One of them has its under side decorated with transverse sections of beautiful scarlet alternating with black.

Ah Sewey, the photographer, was also an efficient man, but at first we had immense difficulty with the developing. One cannot count on water cooler than 75 F., and at that temperature the films come out well, but in the beginning many plates were spoiled. For the photographer in the tropics the use of formalin is an absolute necessity. He must also face other difficulties, avoiding among other things the possibility of having his films, when drying, eaten by small species of grasshoppers.