EATING VERY WELL IN THE HOMANN
An altogether civilized city.
After the war the names changed, as did the population. The Dutch who had resided there all moved elsewhere, if they had even returned from the prisoner of war camps (Tjimahi, Tjihapit, et autres), the Nationalists took over, and the very name of the place is now forever associated with a conference of despots associated with non-aligned movement.
Bandung is also associated with tea plantations, a cooler climate than the pestilential hell-hole Batavia (140 kilometres south-east, on the coast), and a great hotel, the Savoy Homann, famous for its rijsttafel.
A few authors have mentioned Bandung in their writings - Tjalie Robinson (Jan Boon), Johan Wigmore Fabricius, F. Springer (Carel Jan Schneider), Elizabeth ('Beb') Vuyk, et all -- but memories of the food pale, often, in comparison to the camps.
There is an age gap. Those whose fondest memories of Bandung as it was, were too old to survive much into the modern age; those who wrote best experienced the war and the bersiap period. That, necessarily, darkened their memories.
Bandung today has a population of over two and a half million, up from less than twenty thousand before the war. During the Indonesian struggle for independence the southern district of city burned in the fierce battles for control, and much of it was destroyed. Bandung is a different place.
Many of the trees have long since been chopped down.
Modern cities wage war on old growth.
Little hasn't changed much.
The Hotel Homann still exists. The food is as good as it ever was.
They say you can never go back. My father's associate did go back, and enjoyed doing so. But other than the food and the hotel, it was not the same. He left as a native. He returned as a foreigner.
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.