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Honeymoon: Part 5 of 6

As much as we loved Bali, by the time we left we were pretty tired and needed a vacation from our vacation. We got back on a plane and flew to Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia, and stayed in a first class hotel where we simply enjoyed our hotel room and ate a primo meal in the hotel. We did just a little bit of shopping, but mostly just relaxed. That was one of our biggest splurges of the trip.

From Jakarta, we took another train ride back to Bandung. This time it was during the day so we had some pleasant scenery out the window, but it was  like having a TV screen next to us; it was a glass rectangle with pretty pictures floating by, but it was somewhat boring. At one point I got up from my seat and told Stephanie I was going to go explore the train.

I went to the end of our car where it is linked to the next car. There I found a door that was latched closed, but with the flip of a handle the door opened up. I leaned out of the train, and the whole world opened up. Suddenly, wham, I was in the scenery and in the landscape. I hung out the side of the train that was probably going 40 miles an hour, but felt like a hundred. We passed through villages where there were children and chickens running through the yard, with terraced rice fields beyond that, and mountains in the distance.

We were going through a mountainous area, so every few minutes we would cross over a sudden and dramatic gorge that would be a hundred and fifty feet down, with water running at the bottom and blanketed with lush greenery on either side. Since the tracks were narrower that the train itself, and since all of the structural support for the bridge was under the bridge, every time we rushed over the side of another gorge, it looked like we were about to plummet into oblivion. It was breath-stopping rush that made my gut suck up into my chest, and it happened every few minutes. I know I had a huge grin on my face, and I couldn’t help laughing out loud, all by myself. I must have looked like an idiot, but man what a ride.   

Since we were on the island of Java, I thought it would be a good idea to buy some coffee to bring back as gifts. My thinking was, “Java from Java, that would be cool.” I didn’t even really care how good the stuff was, I just wanted it to say “Coffee from Java” on the bag.

Well, for some reason it wasn’t that easy. We never found anything quite like what I was looking for. Finally, on the day before we left Indonesia, I looked in the phone book for anything that said coffee. There was only one shop; it was called “Kopi Aroma,” and it was nearby, so Stephanie and I started walking. This was a large city, and we were in a downtown area walking down packed streets full of cars, peddle-taxis, motorcycles, street food-vendors, and people just sitting and watching us walk past.

There was a lot to see, and we didn’t know what we were looking for. We finally saw a small door with a smaller sign that read “Kopi Aroma,” and tried the knob. Once again, this was so much more than I was looking for; so much cooler. We had found a gold mine. The shop was on the corner of the block, and had we gone around the corner, we would have seen the store front. The door we saw and tried was the back door. The knob was locked, but the proprietor saw us and immediately came over to let us in.

Before we had a chance to say anything, he whisked us in and said “Come in, you’re here just in time, I just finished a batch and you can see how we make it!” (He spoke great English, which was unusual but very welcome.) In a moment, we were in the back of his shop and in the warehouse behind that where he had hundreds of burlap bags stacked 20 feet high, full of raw coffee beans. He explained to us that he was the third generation to own and run this shop, that all his beans come from there in Java, that he ages his beans seven years, and that he slow roasts his beans in two huge cast-iron tumblers that are suspended over a wood burning fire.

Before we left, we told him we wanted to buy eight bags of his coffee. He said “No, no. Just get what you need and come back tomorrow. We do it all again tomorrow.” I thought, what a great, simple philosophy: just get enough for today, and tomorrow we will do it all over again. Why have day old, when you can have fresh? Anyway, we told him we were leaving the next day, so he understood. How much did eight bags of the best coffee I have ever tasted cost? Less than seven dollars, US.

Posted on Wednesday, April 29, 2009 at 08:53AM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell in | CommentsPost a Comment

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