I’d like two lattes please

Starbucks coffee takeaway cups

I was glowing ‘happy’ all day, and I thought I’d share with you this secret of how I made it happen.

It started with me running late for an event, and I felt a little flustered, flustered that my life had turned into a series of being late for events. But still, I badly needed my coffee.

Rather than walk around the mall till I ran into a Starbucks, I decided to stop at the information counter to ask for directions. I was attended to by a very friendly young lady, and she pointed me to a Starbucks outside the mall, which conveniently was where I was headed. As I turned to leave, she smilingly joked, “Satu kopi yah”, one coffee please. I grinned at her and said “ya”. 5 minutes later I brought her a latte with a stir stick and two packs of brown sugar.

First she looked surprised, then elated, then in disbelief. The transition of features was worth a million bucks, and from her face I knew this… that every person she would deal with that day would receive a piece of her happiness from the morning.

“I’m really late for something. I’ve gotta run. Enjoy your coffee and have a wonderful day!” And I left, like Batman.

12 bucks… to carve a lifelong happy memory for a person.

I’m always of the view that Starbucks charges too damn much for their coffee, but not on this day.

A fifty dollar cake for a thousand dollar smile

A fifty dollar cake for a thousand dollar smile
One of the perks of working at AMP Radio Networks is that you get two hot beverages delivered to your desk each day, prepared the way you choose to have it. The woman who makes this happen? Auntie Mallika. And she never gets your drink wrong.
Each day, Auntie Mallika prepares over a hundred cups of tea, coffee or milo. All you need to do is give her your personal mug from home and answer some basic questions she’ll ask you.
1. Would you like a drink in the morning or afternoon or both?
2. Would you like coffee, tea or milo? (You are allowed to pick a different drink for a different time of day)
3. Milk?
4. Level of sweetness.
Over the first few days of receiving your brew, Auntie Mallika will query you on it so she can make the necessary adjustments to get your beverage DNA right. The amazing thing about all this is that she doesn’t take notes. She just stores it all in her head.
There are some house rules. If you are not going to be in, you have to tell Auntie Mallika beforehand. She has the ability to remember multiple dates. So you could just tell her, I won’t be in Monday morning, Thursday afternoon and all of Friday, and she will remember it.
A sea of mugs. Hundreds of drink combinations. Changing schedules. How does she do it? She just does. One face at a time.
~.~.~.~.~
This morning, I had a real bad toothache and had to make a last minute trip to the dentist. I got told off quite badly by Auntie Malika when I got into work–for not informing ahead of time that I would not be in. Picture a large Italian grandmother doling out choice Italian while chasing you with a rolling pin… yeah, it was kinda like that. She even threatened to not make my afternoon drink.
I tried to keep my cheeky smile in, but some of it escaped as I pulled out a birthday cake from the box I was carrying. I got smacked in the arm. She could not believe that someone had remembered. A couple other people happened to be in the pantry at the time, and we sang her a song.
“So auntie… petang ni? Ada kopi?” (So aunty, this afternoon? Got coffee?)
“Ada, ada.”
You should have seen her smile. So glad I was, that on this day, I had remembered the lady who never forgets.

One of the perks of working at AMP Radio Networks is that you get two hot beverages delivered to your desk each day, prepared the way you choose to have it. The woman who makes this happen? Auntie Mallika. And she never gets your drink wrong.

Each day, Auntie Mallika prepares over a hundred cups of tea, coffee or milo. All you need to do is give her your personal mug from home and answer some basic questions she’ll ask you.

  1. Would you like a drink in the morning or afternoon or both?
  2. Would you like coffee, tea or milo? (You are allowed to pick a different drink for a different time of day)
  3. Milk?
  4. Level of sweetness.

Over the first few days of receiving your brew, Auntie Mallika will query you on it so she can make the necessary adjustments to get your beverage DNA right. The amazing thing about all this is that she doesn’t take notes. She just stores it all in her head.

There are some house rules. If you are not going to be in, you have to tell Auntie Mallika beforehand. She has the ability to remember multiple dates. So you could just tell her, I won’t be in Monday morning, Thursday afternoon and all of Friday, and she will remember it.

A sea of mugs. Hundreds of drink combinations. Changing schedules. How does she do it? She just does. One face at a time.

~.~.~.~.~

This morning, I had a real bad toothache and had to make a last minute trip to the dentist. I got told off quite badly by Auntie Malika when I got into work–for not informing ahead of time that I would not be in. Picture a large Italian grandmother doling out choice Italian while chasing you with a rolling pin… yeah, it was kinda like that. She even threatened to not make my afternoon drink.

I tried to keep my cheeky smile in, but some of it escaped as I pulled out a birthday cake from the box I was carrying. I got smacked in the arm. She could not believe that someone had remembered. A couple other people happened to be in the pantry at the time, and we sang her a song.

“So auntie… petang ni? Ada kopi?” (So auntie, this afternoon? Got coffee?)

“Ada, ada.”

You should have seen her smile. So glad I was, that on this day, I had remembered the lady who never forgets.

Back from Bali

Just returned from a week in Bali. It was a very experiential trip I felt.

The highlight of my trip was a massage Sophie and I got atop a mango tree on a hilltop. Surrounding us were dark green forests and stunning lime green paddy fields. Down below was a gushing river. The cool breeze, the sweet scents of massage oils, the sound of the tumbling water. I started to drift off to sleep for a while. And then the masseuse massaged my nipples, and the sirens went off. Unlike most other men who would have found that arousing, any caress in that area sends me into a ticklish fit. I think the next time I go for a massage I should use a black marker and draw a periphery around my nips, sort of a no fly zone marking.

The other cool thing we tried in Bali was Kopi Luwak, the world’s most expensive coffee. Kopi Luwak retails on the world market at US$500 a pound, and is priced as such because of the process it has to undergo to make it what it is – coffee beans are ingested by these furry mongoose-like animals called Luwaks, and eventually passed out. The coffee beans are dug out of their droppings, and made into Kopi Luwak. The enzymes from the digestive tract of the animal act on the coffee beans, lending it its special flavour. Gross I know, but isn’t that the coolest thing you’ve heard of.

Our itinerary was as follows. Arrived and stayed a night in Seminyak, close to the capital. We stayed the next 2 days in the cultural village of Ubud, and then it was back to the capital till we left. We visited quite a number of temples. All picturesque, but it’s something you’ve got to see with your own eyes so I won’t bore anyone with the details.

This trip was a delightful gastronomic experience for me. Unfortunately my stomach did not hold up too well on this trip. I always ended up eating something wrong the night before, and suffered all of the next day. At day’s end, when the storm in my belly subsided, I started getting adventurous again and I could not help but put my stomach to the test again, sampling all kinds of weird chillis and whatchamacallits. And I went through the same ordeal for the six days we were there.

I grew quite close to a couple of the tour guides on our trip, Pak Ketut and Darta. Pak Ketut was the owner of the house we stayed at in Ubud. He spoke only Indonesian and drove us North to where they produced Kopi Luwak. He also accompanied us furniture shopping, and recommended us all the best places for food.
Darta was the tour guide assigned to us by the tour agency who made the arrangements for us. Darta had a huge interest in the English language and took up this profession so that he could meet Westerners to improve his English.

In the few days we had with Darta, I asked him so many questions, he thought I was a writer. By the trip’s end, I learned about all the different types of temples in Bali, the story of the Ramayana, the different status that got bestowed on a place based o the materials used for a building roof. I learned that the people of Bali had their birthday every 210 days, meaning that their birthday was on a different day each year if they used our calendar. I even learned of the layout of Darta’s house, where his brother slept, where the kitchen was placed, where they raised their pigs.

This trip was very different from my first to Bali. But the essence of it was quite the same. Both served as an eye opener to the graceful and peaceful culture of Bali, a way of life that has captured my intrigue till today.