Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Banda Islands

Indonesian cane sugar. Don't chip a tooth.
The sugar here in Indonesia, at least what we could find in Sorong, has huge crystals. Each individual grain is about 4 or 5 (maybe more) times as big as the 'granulated' sugar you find in the States. If Matt's not careful to stir his coffee for an extra long time, it sits in the bottom of his cup until after he's finished drinking it. The crystals refused to dissolve both in cookie dough and whipped cream, making a delightful (or annoying, depending on your taste) crunching when eaten.

A view of Gunung Api Banda from Fort Belgica
You hardly ever think about sugar-type preferences, but they come up when you travel to the places we've been in lately. In The Solomons and Papua New Guinea, where sugar was relatively expensive, villagers were happy to trade woodcarvings and fresh produce for it but usually only wanted white sugar. They had no interest in the widely-available raw sugar (light brownish in color).  And while raw sugar was easy to find, proper brown sugar was almost non-existant in some places (say goodbye to your tollhouse cookies and prepare for boring oatmeal!).
Mark running laps around Fort Belgica for fun
(that's what being cooped up will do to you)
We have been enjoying the sights here in Banda as we wait for favorable weather and winds to hop to Saumlaki (to check out of the country) and then Darwin. The area is rich with history about nutmeg and awful colonial Dutch people. It's hard to believe that the real estate here was once the most valuable in the whole world and that nutmeg was worth more than gold, ounce for ounce. So the Dutch trade of Manhattan for an island full of nutmeg made sense at the time.

There's Gunung Api Banda again, this time from Fort Nassau.
Kids blowing bubbles on Api Banda with plant stems.
Who needs a plastic bubble kit?
One of the friendly residents of Banda
Neira, fixing his bicycle.
Conrad asked me whether this flower was a dandelion. The kid has a Rain Man-like knowledge of sea life and spiders, but the most noticeable weed in the U.S. Midwest? Nope.
Not a dandelion.
There is a low pressure system building near Darwin, so we'll wait to see what happens with it before we start heading down south. The anchorage here near Banda Neira is pleasant, though we could do without the thunderstorms and strong gusts that seem to descend each evening. The tension during these lightning-filled events is heightened by the poor holding of the coral rubble that makes up the bottom here.

1 comment:

  1. Conrad, when you come back, I’ll not only show you what a dandelion looks like but also show you how difficult they are to pull out.


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