Time and coffee at 1.30am Sunday morning

Being a foreigner in Jakarta, Indonesians often ask me what I miss about home.

Apart from the usual things (including fresh milk!), I often say the seasons, not just because of the pleasing natural phenomena such as blossoming flowers or long summer evenings, but also cos the seasons give you some sort of continuous reminder of where you are in the year.

In Indonesia, though, this isn’t the case. It’s always hot and you’re never really aware what time of the year it is. So while time goes through cycles in Europe, in Indonesia time seems to stretch out in one continuous long line. Sure there is the rainy season, but apart from the rain of course, there are no other differences. January here is basically no different from July.

Maybe that’s why time seems to go by much faster in the tropics than in temperate climes – you lose track of the seasonal rhythms altogether – even though
Schapelle Corby would definitely disagree of course– time must be passing pretty damn slowly for her at Bali Hilton.

One way to free up more time is to stay awake longer and sleep less. To do this just drink tons of strong coffee. Even if your concentration does start to falter, like mine is now. But at least it’s easy to get the coffee into your cup in Indonesia. Dig that teaspoon deep into the coffee jar in Indonesia and what happens? The coffee forms an elevated peak, seemingly defying the laws of physics. Try it yourself. In England though you can’t get nearly as much coffee on your teaspoon. I’ve always wondered about this bizarre phenomenon. Is it the coffee or something else?

A few days ago I found the answer on the net:

At ambient temperatures the coffee grounds would associate by a mixture of particle packing and, significantly, adhesion between particles caused by the coffee oil. This allows the coffee to heap surprisingly high on the spoon. At lower temperatures, however, the coffee oil freezes and the adhesion effect is lost. Heaping is then reliant solely on particle packing, resulting in a smaller mound. Incidentally, older coffee that has lost a significant proportion of its oil doesn't heap well.

Ross Rounsevell, Cambridge, UK

But despite all the coffee I’ve drunk today, I still feel sleepy. It is 1.30am. I think I’m gonna join everyone else in the land of nod. Even if I am gonna lose some more precious time…

Wobbly clocks by you know who


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