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Jakarta Post

The Magic `Jamu' (Part 1)

  • Wendy Bone

Jakarta   /   Sun, July 26 2009   /  11:56 am

She came down the street on her bicycle, the same as she did every morning, wearing a woven caping to cover her face and a bright sarong covered in batik flowers. She was the color of fertile earth; her teeth were strong and white as she smiled at her neighbors and bid them good morning. Her slender hands - with fingernails painted orange with the juice of imai flowers from a recent wedding - gripped her bicycle's handle bars. Her legs worked round and round, her sandaled feet curving over the edges of the pedals as she made her way into the city. On the back of her bicycle, a specially made box painted turquoise contained an array of bottles. They clinked gently when she rode over a stone, their spicy rich contents swirling. Each bottle contained remedies her customers sought for beauty, health and vitality. Some contained turmeric, the color of late afternoon sunshine a...