Here Thar Be Monsters!

From the other side of the argument to the other side of the planet, read in over 149 countries and 17 languages. We bring you news and opinion with an IndoTex® flavor. Be sure to check out Radio Far Side. Send thoughts and comments to luap.jkt at gmail, and tell all your friends. Sampai jumpa, y'all.



I did it!

I have perfected the Indonesian margarita. It has taken three liters of prime Sauza tequila, but it was worth the time and effort.

One of the major problems has been the limes here. They are pretty much the same as Key limes, about the size of golf balls and bitter as a Batak woman (for the uninitiated, that's pretty damn bitter). I've been experimenting with different combinations and juices to come up with just the right mix.

Turns out, it's 12 of the little sour limes squeezed into a 12-ounce tumbler. Then, you need to squeeze 6 of the really good and sweet mini-oranges that are especially popular around Chinese New Year. This will yield about 2/3s of the tumbler full of juice. To that, add enough water to bring the liquid level up to about 1/2 an inch of the rim. Add two heaping spoonfuls of sugar and stir well.

Not only is the mix just right, adding ice causes a little sugar to congeal at the bottom, so when you take the last shot, it's just slightly on the sweet side.

It's just like a scene out of "Mr. Roberts." For the film-illiterate, it's one of the best WWII navy flicks out there, with a top-shelf cast. You'll just have to watch to get the allusion. I'll put it in the Far Side Store, if you're burning to get the joke.

Part of the fun and challenge of living abroad is trying to create the tastes of home using a raw pallette. You have to be creative and experiment with different tastes to get the right mix, which would be a mix packet back home. What's even better is watching the locals get hooked on the things you call home.

Another example is tacos and burritos. I've prepared them four times now. It's quite a production, since some of the key seasonings (comino) and things like jalapenos just aren't lying around the local grocery store. Also, there's the problem of finding the right bean and lard to make a decent batch of refritos, which is key to a proper taco. It's the glue which binds the whole mass together. And additional problem is the fact that Indonesians think that comino smells like underarm sweat, so it's rather difficult to get them to taste the damn things.

The trick to living abroad and still enjoying the taste of home is very simple, but one often overlooked by trans-nationals. Bring seeds! Part of the solution to my problem was to grow my own jalapenos and pinto beans, as well as certain spices (did I mention the dearth of dill pickles here?).

When I left the States, I had one, single suitcase. In that suitcase, I had a full week's worth of clothes, depending on my ability to do laundry onces a week, three pairs of shoes, a Berkey water filter and multi-purpose tool, and a huge bundle of non-hybrid seed. I've got beefstake tomatoes, the ONLY ones in Indonesia and possibly all of Asia!

Another missing spice is cilantro. You can occasionally find parsley, but that is a pale cousin of the fine Texas herb. It also imparts a flavor all its own that can not be replicated from local stock.

So it comes down to trying to get Indonesians to lick armpits, which is how they feel when they smell comino. Those brave enough to step over that line are rewarded with a taste sensation they have never experienced.

I won't even mention the way they act around a good, down-home chili dog.

The one weakeness in my plan to take over the country one stomache at a time is sour cream. That stuff is like gold here, and short of buying a jersey cow and making my own, I'm not sure what to do about it.

But, back to the margaritas.

Indonesia only allows ONE FREAKIN' LITER of booze or wine without 'uang saku,' or pocket money. They say its a tax, but 90% of it ends up in the take-home of the aparatciks. So, I have had to build a network of international travelers to bring me the occasional bottle of Sauza Tequila Argente Repotivo. Since it's not worth a dedicated trip, I can only do the dirty work once every couple of months. Why wait? Because buying it locally costs me $50 a liter. Getting it at duty free in Singapore is only $20. Unless I can make the trip pay otherwise, I can figure out a "Mr. Roberts" solution.

What's really comical, and worth all the effort, is to watch Indonesians drinking margaritas. In my experience, there is something about dark skin and liquor that I will never understand. I can drink an entire liter of tequila and feel silly and all, but one shot of the cactus juice is like snorting a gram of Bolivian marching powder to an Indonesian. They start moving at twice the speed of sound and get really chatty. They also discover the ability to speak English, laying latent, that they promptly forget in the morning.

Very amusing. Not to mention the fact that they can't understand why I don't get plowed the same way.

I've tried and tried to explain that Texans have two hollow legs and a slow liver. Remind me to tell you the story of drinking seven Irishmen under the table in Long Island sometime. I mean UNDER the table!

One day I'll wax philosophic on the fine art of tequila. Suffice it to say that there is one 'official' volcano in Mexico, with three families sharing the slopes, where true tequila comes from. The Sauza family is one of them. Patron is way overrated, and the third family ain't worth mentioning. Every other tequila on Earth is a sham.

Anyway, that's the story of survival on the Far Side. It's all about exporting the superior Texas culture to the world, and trying our damnedest to shake loose from the American slave-drivers.

The secret is good cooking, friendly people, an inclusive culture, and fine tequila.

After all, we rightfully own Mexico. We kicked their asses at San Jacinto on April 21, 1842. If it weren't for a bunch of traitors and US meddling, we would have a global empire about now.

It is said that God invented whiskey to keep the Irish from taking over the world. Well, He invented tequila to keep the Texans from doing the same.

The difference is, WE SHALL OVERCOME!

heh heh heh...

Same thing we do every night, Pinky. Try to take over the world!

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