The dagger man
Go to Java, where the valleys are lush and coconut plantations spread like weeds, and where perfectly-formed volcanoes stand guard over an immense kingdom. It's easy to fall in love with Java. Like the coffee, it is rich, and very distinctive. The icing on my Javanese coffee cake was the warmth of the people. I stayed in the town of Yogyakarta. Towards the end of my trip, the receptionist at the hotel, who'd become my friend, arranged for me to meet a local spirit man who sold kris, ancient ceremonial daggers.
My friend had told me he was a sort of caretaker and medium. Families would come to him with their daggers, precious heirlooms, some dating back hundreds of years, and like a pawn merchant in some seedy part of London, he'd hold on to them, until someone like me came along with a hotel employee.
He was a smiley, happy man, dressed in sarong and wearing a Javanese turban. Quite charming. Problems with your love life, making ends meet, or lacking in confidence in a certain department, he could help. By performing a little ‘song or dance' with your dagger, all your worries would pass, and life would take on new meaning. All for a modest fee, which included your thousand-year-old dagger. I resisted.
He did have a great smile, and posing with his collection of ancient daggers, made for a great picture and a lasting memory from a magical land. AM
Images: copyright Alan McArthur