My very first Coca Cola was when I was about 5 years old. How I remembered this very well. I was at the door of my father's office which was on stilts. Yup, the very sturdy wooden office building was built on stilt near a river mouth northwest of Borneo island, a place call Kuala Lawas. The surroundings? My father and his colleague, they were intrigued of what I would do next to the glass bottle in my two little hands. Never had the luxury of anything like this, I shook the bottle, before my father finished saying, "Don't shake the bottle," and you know what happened next, bubbles poured out of the glass bottle when my dearest father popped the Coke cap. It was the most memorable taste I have ever had, fizzy and strange, but very good, very, very good!:) Almost like the fizz of young coconut juice. Ever had a fresh one? Natural fizz, I tell you. Other than this natural fizz, nothing beats the taste Coca Cola, not even pepsi can take over the very first taste of Coca Cola, in it's classic glass bottle. I am a fan of Coca Cola till now. Not changing it for another. I would know the difference between the ones from a can, a glass bottle and a plastic bottle. It's just different.
Fast forward 20 some years later, on a research trip for design and symbols into beautiful highland of Bario, main transport - my two feet with a group of scientist and I'm the only one doing Arts. With guides and camera equipments on my back, this had been the most memorable and wonderful experience - walking both in the rain and sunshine, crossing a two 6"-7" diameter, tied together side by side, bamboo bridge about 10-15ft high which feels like 15-20ft above the clear rocky river below, what was I thinking, keep going, keep going and look straight and don't look down. Then men will be always be boys...evil! They shook the bridge! Arrgh! Be brave and walk straight! Phew!!! and the thought of having to walk on it again on our way back! Urrrgh!
during these walk, leeches waiting to jump on any part of your body. If you can hear them say, this would be it. "Wowhooo! human passing through! Partay!" It's like, if I am gonna exaggerate, you'll see it jump like a human thirsty after a long walk on a dry dessert without water, saw a lake and jump in! Yeah! Like that! Those blood suckers, yup, literally speaking, will jump after the first sense of human that passed by, and after knowing that, I wanted to walk in front of everyone every opportunity I get, that is if I am able to catch up. After 7 hours of walking, we rested in a small hut, washed ourselves basically in the rain. All I want to do is sleep but was forced to eat for energy the next day. Whaa...I can barely eat a cup of those delicious clean tasting Bario rice. WHAT? The next day? Yup, another 7 hours. No fear, as I brought with me with a Snicker bar (my favourite) in my bag, this time uphill! Almost 3 hours uphill! Arrgh! We finally got to this beautiful sight at the bottom of the hill. The Village. That was the spot when I first saw a Clove plant, wow! Yup, THE spice.
We then went downhill, lived at the longhouse for a few days with beautiful work of art and very, very nice hosts, working. During these research I lifted, with permission, an old lady's sarong to draw and copy her tattoo, shot beautiful local art and crafts including beautiful old carvings. This is when I notice that the men have beautiful earrings then the women, but women's tattoos from this area are the most beautiful I have ever seen. After all work was done, we walked back about more then 10 hours (shorter because of downhill trips) straight to our headquarters and two broken toenail later, thirsty and hungry with all the tiredness, all I can think of was 'when I get there, all I want is COKE!' I don't care how much it cost, I want Coke. Ahhh! nothing can describe the taste of a warm coke! I don't care! ~ Oh wait, I think I saw Anthony Bourdain experiencing warm beer when he traveled in Borneo! I think he knows how that would taste like. No, soft drinks only for me.
These clear memories of food leads to another, I scream ICECREAM! Uhuh! you got that right. In my dark blue dress, my round curious 5 year old eyes were looking up at this strange shape of soft white cottony cloud-like looking thing on what they call a cone. A cake cone. Pale yellow. I am at awe and drooled. Oh so yummy! This is food, I thought. From then on, ice cream was and has been a wonderful treat my Mom and Dad would get for us, bought them and put them in thermo flask from a local ice cream store, SunnyHill, brought home for my siblings and I to enjoy. Ever had ice cream sandwich in a soft bun? yummm...
Those were my first memory. Now, I would go to this mom and pop store, Washtenaw Dairy, to get rid of my crave. Yeah right, crave. I would think of anything just to have a reason to go there. Hence the name, FreezerNinja. I was caught having icecream one night:) sneaky!
From Borneo to US. My food memoir. to be continued...