A certain element that floats around in the air, something very thick, somehow spicy – maybe it’s because, in Indonesia, the skin, even as you sleep at night, glows with a clinging persperation. The pores are always wide open, a window through which this essence of Indonesia somehow intoxicates, planting itself deep inside the soul, a narcotic that is forever craved. Images, tastes, intangible touches that are felt even today, ghosts that unexpectedly arrive to haunt, pushing out the real stimuli of moment.
It is a passion manifested in the art that appears on concrete pillars under overpasses and the intensity of political discussions, such as the coffee houses of Aceh, the state that only recently held its first elections after thirty years of bloody civil war.
And the food, oh the food, that craving for spice that makes sweat break out on your brow, despite the fact that you’re already sweating.
Gado Gado, a sort of cold dish with lots of vegetable, tempe, often eggs, and a thick blood of peanut and chili sauce, has left a taste that will never leave my lips. The chef/ auntie at a frequented shop in Depok will ask, even after so many lunches on so many days, if the bule can really handle such a spicy food.
And the coffee, oh the Kopi. What can I say? Opiate of the masses (or another one of them)?