THIEVES IN THE TEMPLE: MY SACRILEGIOUS FIRST ENCOUNTER WITH YLANG YLANG FLOWERS AT THE TAMAN SARI WATER PALACE, YOGYAKARTA

Craving all this.

The Black Narcissus

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It somehow felt inevitable that we would have a blistering argument the moment we left the vanilla plantation.

It had been utterly magical; fascinating, unforgettable –  movingly so – and yet we had also surrendered autonomy in many ways – our mealtimes planned and eaten together with the family and our translator; the lessons and plantation visiting schedule, though flexible timewise (” do you mind if I have a siesta?” ) set, basically, for each day.

Part of me loved all of this. No internet, no responsibilities, the receptiveness of being taught something I deeply wanted to learn, the absolute beauty of the place itself. I was even quite enjoying the early to bed, early to rise aspect of it as well, which lay in stark contrast to my usual hectic workweek here in Japan: in our (separate) beds by 9.30pm each night; up with the lark before seven each…

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