Monday, December 04, 2023

A TROPICAL LAZINESS

The most precious blade I own is rather small, made for a very specific purpose, and of an elegant plainness. It isn't the chef's knife I purchased years ago from a friend in college much younger than myself, nor either of the two Javanese krises standing in the bookshelf near my chair in the teevee room. It was given to me by a dear friend who said he no longer used it.
Fits easily into the hand, semi-horsehoof pommel.


On an entirely different tack, it is amazing what the combination of reading about Cantonese fatty pork chunks with salted snow vegetable last night, a strong cup of coffee before bed, my bloodpressure medicines, and the weather can have on one's dreams. Early tropical dawn, a petite rounded person with a doctorate in chemistry asleep next to me in silk jammies, and a multi-coloured moth dancing over her head.

I must clarify that I have never had a rounded person with a doctorate in chemistry sleeping next to me. Though now I wish I had. It was a lovely dream. I was asleep, though wide awake. She looked so peaceful and content.

Also, I've noticed that over the course of twenty four hours, the pills affect my sense of temperature. Yesterday morning was apparently bitterly cold for many people, but I felt perfectly comfortable in my shirtsleeves. By teatime when it had become considerably warmer I needed my sweater. This morning while outside it didn't feel chilly at all.
MORNING IN AN UPLAND FOREST, JAVA


The Parahyangan (Preanger, Priangan) region of Java, bordered on the west by Bantam, on the east by Pekolongan and Banyumas, is where coffee reached an apex during the colonial period, the heartland of Sunda, a part of the old kingdom of Padjadjaran, and where the gods dwell. Mountainous volcanic terrain with numerous coffee, tea, and cinchona plantations, and a warm semi-temperate climate. At the higher elevations it can get quite cold.

In Bandung, around Djalan Klenteng (formerly* Chineesche Kerkweg, meaning "Chinese church road"), there are a number of Chinese eateries and bakeries (where surprisingly you can find European pastries and breads), and I hear that in recent years locals have become more open about Chineseness and visible uses of their written language than in the past. Bandung was always a favourite city of the Dutch, by the way, probably because of the cooler weather and relative freedom from Malaria, quite a bit better than Djakarta, where because it was built on a swamp, disease thrived.

[Colonial era street names have largely been replaced, for example: the Carel Fabritiuslaan is now Djalan Hadji Wasid, Chineesche Voorstraat has become Djalan Petjinan Lama, Van Diemenstraat became Djalan Kembang Sapatu, and the Engelbert van Bevervoordeweg was renamed Djalan Wastukentjana, which undoubtedly is a lot easier to pronounce.]


To the west, further uphill from Bandung, and closer to Bogor, is the Puntjak pass, where there are far more tea plantations. In Puntjak one can even find Dutch cuisine, which is quite baffling, because everything tastes better with sambal anyway, and so many Dutch dishes would benefit from fishpaste plus lengkuas and sereh, as well as peanut sauce, which was probably invented in Sunda.

Which reminds me that I need to buy another bottle of Lee Kum Kee Peanut Sauce.
I've run out, and at present feel too indolent to make my own.
Plus if I did, I'd end up with far too much.



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