There is something in Bekasi that brings out the magpie in me whenever I chance upon something that I am fond of. Being a collector is nothing new for me, but I mostly collected books and, at one point, shoes until my mother put a moratorium on my shoe-spending and made me swear not to enhance my collection. I just now replace some old ones.
But Bekasi has had me starting new collections, which would make most people raise their eyebrows in incredulity. My liking, for example, for couscous had me starting a collection of couscous during my early years in Bekasi. It was unheard of so I would have a former flat mate of mine carting boxes of those for me when she’d drop by for a visit from Singapore. Now, fortuitously, couscous is ubiquitous and has become a permanent fixture in the supermarket shelves of Bekasi. After couscous, I found myself collecting this particular brand of Japanese green tea which was so commonplace in Singapore, but oh-so-rare in Bekasi. Carrefour carried it but its availability was unpredictable as a windstorm; it would take months before the stock could be replenished. This was recently followed by a collection of the Nature’s Bakery raspberry fig bars that I serendipitously chanced upon Farmer’s Market at Grand Metropolitan Mall. The stock is dwindling and heaven knows when it will be replenished again. Following the fig bars is a short-lived collection of Starbucks’s bottled Frappuccino. I am stretching my Starbucks Frappuccino because I’m down to my last two bottles. My last trip to Farmer’s Market left me so dismayed because the shelf where the bottles of mocha and coffee Frappuccino used to be had been completely replaced by a collection of bottled milk tea from Thailand.
Target, Santa Clarita
Target is a treasure trove of surprises. I was strolling along the aisles when I chanced upon such as this unlikely alliance between these iconic figurines. I suddenly had a vision of Darth Vader and Leonardo standing guard outside my office at Global Prestasi School. Too bad that they couldn’t fit into my luggage.
I am not one to argue with a sage if I don’t know any better. The Sage of Tea, Lu Yu, is someone I won’t question about tea. He wrote the compendious book on tea, The Classic of Tea, and I do agree with his thoughts on tea, such as it has a calming effect. I drink chamomile when I want my thoughts to quiet down and relax the knotted muscles. I normally have a cup at night for a good night’s sleep. Now, peppermint is good for when my stomach starts acting up again; it is better than popping a tablet. While dining in a Chinese restaurant, I normally have chrysanthemum or jasmine tea (no sugar) with the meal. It aides in digestion I was told. As for green tea – I am biased towards the genmaicha green tea – it is perfect when I am marking papers, as it gives the brain power an extra boost. Adding to the efficacy of green tea is it helps one with pulling down the weight.Then I had a cup of peppermint one fine afternoon at Hotel Ibis Bencoolen in Singapore. Now, I dare add to the Sage of Tea’s quotes on tea. I am thinking “Tea can make you laugh.” Or “Tea is perfect for exercises on malapropism.”
The meeting was at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at the new mall of Eastwood Mall in Quezon City. I was excited to see two of my long time high school friends, Melie and Joy. Joy lives in California with her husband and two sons while Melie lives in Quezon City with her immediate and extended family. Whenever we are all in the Philippines, we make it a point to catch up.
Arriving at Eastwood Mall, I headed to the information counter to ask for directions. It was my first time at the mall.
Me: “Good afternoon. Can you please tell me where Coffee Bean is?”
Receptionist: “Good afternoon, Ma’am. Go to the end and exit this building. Walk the sky bridge until the end. Coffee Bean is at the other side.”
Me: “So, go to the end, exit, on to the sky bridge and Coffee Bean is at the other end.”
Receptionist: “Yes, Ma’am.”
Me: “Thank you and Happy New Year.”
Receptionist: “You’re welcome, Ma’am. Happy New Year, too.”
Following her directions, I was on the look out for the sky bridge when I exited the building. Lo and behold! There was a wonderful canvas of sky blue dotted by puffs of clouds.
Me: “Good Lord! Where is the sky bridge?”
My gaze veered to the left and spotted the huge Coffee Bean sign. I followed the circuitous pathway and – surprise, surprise – reached a short, concrete Japanese bridge which I crossed to get to Coffee Bean.
Staid as an English butler isn’t how I’d describe the ambience at La Tartine, the restaurant and breakfast place for guests staying at Hotel Puri Tempo Doeloe. While the kitchen rustled up my breakfast, I was piqued at the knick-knacks on display and particularly the signs. The ambience definitely reeked of the irreverent behaviour of Queen of Pop Madonna commingled with the witticism of TV host Jimmy Fallon that is a bit out of place in prim and proper Sanur, Bali. But that’s part of the charm of La Tartine, its disarming laidback milieu that indubitably cracks you up. Even Snow White’s Grumpy couldn’t keep his irascible demeanour.
Whoever said that women are docile creatures is in for a rude awakening at La Tartine. The owner definitely has his/her image of women different from the conventional one. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
Breaking wind as a joke is so passé until you see this sign. It has a refreshing take on the staleness of it.
The last sign that my gaze fell on shortly before my breakfast of nasi goreng (fried rice) arrived was one rib tickler. The timing was so apt since “Fifty Shades of Grey” was then playing in the cinemas.
Waiting for your food has never been funny or has it?
La Tartine Café-Restaurant
Jl. bypass Ngurah Rai 209
Tel: 0361 286542
Eureka! Here is the answer to a shopaholics’ dire predicament of not having enough space to fit everything they bought in their bag. This gargantuan Webe bag greets people the moment they emerge from meandering walk within the souvenir shopping area that they pass through to get through their departure gates from the check-in area on the first floor at the Ngurah Rai airport in Denpasar, Bali.
Putting down the red pen,
irritation seeps in.
There is no end to this madness
of correcting the misspelled “dissappointed”
or putting a full-stop or ? or ! at the end of the sentence.
A silent shriek goes through my head: “Let me outta here!”
A break – I need a break that was more than the trite Kit Kat break.
Zing! There can only be that one that can take the frustration.
Smooth like well polished marble tiles;
soft as whipped butter;
and demure as a young Victorian lady
waiting for her gentleman caller.
Sophie’s creation would have been perfect
– with green tea to boot – but Georgetown
would do for now.
Yes! Oh yes!
I’m going on a break.
A box of red velvet goodness to banish frustration away. [Cupcakes by Tiffany’s]
With pearl milk tea, 12 Cupcakes’ red velvet cupcake is divine.
Have a break – bite into your red velvet cupcake by Tiffany’s.