Banda Archipelago

1 August 2016
Femke Lobach

DSC06696Curtains of rain all around our yacht prevent me from going outside. Huge spiders found their way to Kings Legend. With a hook I crash their webs and throw them into the sea. Our neighbour yachtsman has been bitten by a spider and has been feeling ill the last two days.

A huge cockroach ended up in our kitchen, Gijs crushed it with a towel. Humidity is causing everything to feel damp and sticky. Small fruit flies fly around our food. And our garbage bag turns into a maggot invested plastic bag within a day. Mosquitos are everywhere. One of the other yachtsmen got either Dengue or Malaria; he is running a high fever. Well, these are the Tropics.

DCIM100GOPROGOPR1179.And despite everything I love it. Just take it easy, tempo doeloe, check everything thoroughly, and take your time. The Indonesian food is delicious. The nature is incredibly green and lush. The sea is full of colourful coral and fish. The people are friendly.. most of them.

We are at Banda Neira, one of the Spice Islands. Once upon a time owned by the Dutch. Jan Pieterszoon Coen was here, during the VOC era of the seventeenth century and brought with him terror and destruction. Far into the twentieth century the Dutch still owned the plantations on these islands. Clove, nutmeg, cinnamon and almond made Holland a thriving trading nation.

 

 

 

BDSC06726anda is a confrontation with the shadow side of Dutch history. Of suppression, slaves, trading and colonial wealth. The older generation still speaks Dutch and is not so happy to see us as it brings back a lot of unwanted memories.

Dutch history is still present in every day life; ‘kantor, asbak, sekretariat, lepel, platje, dakkapel’ and cinnamon tea with ‘speculaas’ cookies. VOC coins, old forts, cannons, graves and monuments. The British in our fleet are elated that for once they are not to blame for a dark page in history. We joke about it but it is confrontational as every documentary, book or story told here implies the bad behaviour of our ancestors.

Every nation has a dark side, even the Dutch, dogs hidden in the cellars and skeletons in their closets. Whatever history at school tells or not tells us.

 



One comment to “Banda Archipelago”

  1. Witlox says:

    Fantastic !!!Nice to read about your trip ! Groetjes Mieke Witlox

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