Monday, February 26, 2024


One of my neighbors is staggeringly neurotic, I have realized, in a manner that is almost typical for her ethno-cultural group. No, I shall not be more specific, lest I be accused of harbouring typical white man biases regarding them or their kind -- and no one wants to be accused of blockheaded praeconceptions anent Fujianese Chinese from South East Asia, for instance -- and I will add that that particular segment of world society and their neighbors are often filled with sweetness and light, and little butterflies, pretty flowers, and Hello Kitty.
Which is nice. They can be very warm people. Them and their neighbors.
Sometimes (but rarely) psychopaths.

As a Dutchman, of course, I am never like that.
We are remarkably sane individuals.
Quite normal.

If you ever absolutely need an island exterminated, hypothetically Banda, we can probably achieve that for you. We have skills, experience, and an unemotional approach to things.
We are rational people.

She isn't. Not quite. Veers wildly between a "hah and sniff" type arrogance, and a worrisome near-whimpering. Over ghosts of her own imagining. Which is very typical of her class and kind. Which I shan't identify. And that explains in a nutshell why sometimes a Dutchman needs an extra strong second cup of coffee following his first pipe of the day.
It is currently heading into the seventies (°F) in Banda.
There will be no precipitation today.
Very pleasant.
The Chinese word for coffee (咖啡 'gaa fei') and the Japanese equivalent (珈琲) are relatively recent constructs. Had the drink been known before the great age of exploration, it would have been written in Seal Script like the illustration above.

Caffeinated beverages, refined sugar, and tobacco, are blessings without which our world would be almost unimaginably different. The Aztecs would probably still be sacrificing tens of thousands of victims to the sun god every week, the Dutch would have to subsist on turnips and rotten fish, and the economy of Cuba would have only ONE trade good to export, instead of two. Which are marvelous. They have been blessed.
Nicaragua and Brazil would have nothing.
Poor bastards.

My heavens, that second cup of (strong) coffee is nice! It seems to demand that I fill another pipe (let's see, which one should I pick?) to accompany it. Perhaps a Charatan? One of the Dunhill shellbriars? A 1950's Comoy?

Suffice to say it will be a fine Virginia, and I'd rather not be disturbed for a while. If the phone rings, I shall answer it by barking "Wai? Hai pin go? Nei yiu mat ye, ah?" until the stupid Indian call-centre wallah hangs up.

It's been over four centuries since Banda.
Where. Nothing. Happened.

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