Indonesia – End of the Line

Tribal Talk

Made up of 18,000 islands, Indonesia is home to many unique people. Perhaps not as visible as people living under the six recognized religions in the country, of which citizens have to pick one and can only marry outside of their religion if one person converts, are the many tribes that inhabit some of those islands. Let’s take a look at some of those fascinating folks!

Korowai

With all the zombie fiction that exists today, it’s not surprising that some have gone on to take it all a little too seriously… but what if those people had no access to any media and up until about 1970, believed they were the only people that existed. Living high above the forest floor in treehouses (which are also used to mark the passage of time), for fear of “walking corpses” at night below, the Korowai are cannibalistic, while also being hunter-gatherers. Numbering 3,000 people, the tribe is expected to vanish with the next generation as more and more young members leave for Dutch missionary settlements.

Cannibal Cold Shoulder

Asmat

Fellow cannibals (not of the Fine Young variety!), the Asmat had a feared reputation as headhunters and just being scary folks. Any explorers landing nearby would be met with loud noises and explosions of white powder, causing them to flee. The group (with a population of 70,000) is famous for their woodcarving, which is collected worldwide, even bringing Michael Rockefeller (yes, of that Rockefeller family) to Indonesia. When Rockefeller disappeared, the Asmat were launched into the public eye and given their way of life, you can only assume what happened to Rockefeller’s never-discovered body.

Iban

Called Sea Dayaks (I think they were trying to be derogatory) by British Colonists, this tribe was constantly at war with other factions and were known for headhunting, both acts necessary for life on an overcrowded island. The skulls collected by Iban warriors were regarded as their most-prized possessions. The people also took a lot of stock in jars and brass instruments, which they believed depicted wealth. Today, the Iban have largely evolved. Although some still live in traditional longhouses, these homes have been equipped with modern technology and utilities.

Yali

At average heights of under five feet, the Yali are officially recognized as pygmies. If you want to visit the Yali, you better be prepared for an arduous journey through treacherous trails that wind through the Jayawijaya Mountains. Once you get there, things may not get much better, as the tribe also has a history of cannibalism, going so far as to grind their victims bones to dust, ensuring they would never return. That said, the tribe’s women get to live in their own houses, while the men reside in communal homes. Each family has their own vegetable garden, so they do have that going for them.

Tribe Clown

Dani

Yet another group of ferocious warriors, who had to constantly fight to hold their land, thought to be the most fertile on the island. Unlike others, the Dani were not cannibals, but they are unique for turning their most honourable chiefs and warriors into smoked mummies, which they gladly put on display for visitors to the tribe. Also, after an enemy was killed, the Dani would engage in a two-day dance-a-thon, showing off weapons and other possessions taken from their victim(s). Sweet potatoes are used as currency, for trade and dowries by the Dani, so make sure to pick up some packs of yam fries before heading to Indonesia.

Mentawai

The Mentawai are easily recognizable thanks to their heavily tattooed bodies and sharpened teeth, which they do because they believe it makes you beautiful and elegant. I’m not sure vampires would agree, but they can’t even see themselves in mirrors anyway! The tattoos are used to record age, social status, and profession. Children receive their first tattoo at 11 or 12 years old on their upper arms. Then, at the age of 18, tattoos are added to the thighs. Finally, the rest of the body, head to toe is tattooed. The tattoos are important for Mentawai afterlife, helping tribal members recognize family based on the designs.

Indonesia: End of the Line

End of the Line Martini

  • 1.5 oz Pisang Ambon
  • 1.5 oz Frangelico
  • Top with Whip Cream
  • Garnish with Crushed Nuts

As people around the world prepare to celebrate the coming of the New Year, another unique Indonesian custom should also be noted: Hindus living there celebrate a Day of Silence, which includes no work, travel, electricity, entertainment, talking, or eating. This causes the streets to empty, the airport to shutdown, and tourists to be restricted to their accomodations. Only emergency vehicles carrying passengers with life-threating issues and women in labor are allowed.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
What a perfectly titled cocktail to end the Around the World project, of which I have greatly enjoyed! And we went out with a bang, as this drink is very good, warming the body and soul. How can you go wrong with combining bananas (Pisang Ambon) and nuts (Frangelico)!? The Crushed Peanuts for garnish were a nice touch for a snack to go along with the martini.

Advertisements

Indonesia – Born to be Wild

Beast from the East

Indonesia is home to the fearsome Komodo Dragon, found on a few of the country’s 18,000 islands, including – of all places! – Komodo Island. They are the largest reptiles in the world and are classified as “vulnerable” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Endangered Species list, due to declining population. Let’s take a careful, but closer look at these mysterious beasts:

Komodo Dragons were considered mythological creatures until 1910, when Lieutenant van Steyn van Hensbroek of the Netherlands discovered them. An early expedition to Komodo Island, in 1926, to track down these illusive lizards was the inspiration for the 1933 classic film, King Kong. The leader of that expedition, W. Douglas Burden, is credited with naming the animal.

Komodo Kitty

Although once called “land crocodiles,” they are good swimmers. Hell, they can even climb trees and reach speeds of 14-18 km/h. Komodo Dragons can be cannibalistic, eating older and younger lizards that are unable to protect themselves. The Smithsonian National Zoological Park was the first place to publicly display a Komodo Dragon, in 1934. Because the reptile is the national animal of Indonesia, only the President can authorize one to be removed from the country.

On average, Komodo Dragons measure 8-10 feet and weigh 150-250 pounds, with a tail that is as long as its body. They can live anywhere from 30-50 years. The female Komodo Dragon lays eggs (anywhere from 15 to 30 in each batch) that take about nine months to hatch. The lovable beasts maintain a single mate throughout their life, meaning we’ll never see them on Maury going through lie detector or paternity tests!

You probably wouldn’t want to bring one of these monsters home with you, as there is some debate as to whether Komodo Dragons are venomous or not. Their saliva – which is coloured red – is thought to be poisonous because of septic bacteria, but glands have also been discovered in the animal’s jaw, that contain venom-like secretions that cause quick swelling, issues with blood clotting, shooting pain, and muscle paralysis.

Komodo Big Bird

There have been reports of Komodo Dragon attacks on humans, including fatalities. In 2007, an eight-year-old boy was killed, while playing near a village on Komodo Island. Two years later, a 31-year-old man met his end, while picking fruit and falling from a tree, into the waiting mouths of two lizards. Between those two incidents, a group of SCUBA divers were swept away from their boat and onto Rinca Island, where they spent the next two days avoiding assaults, before being rescued.

Actress Sharon Stone’s husband, Phil Bronstein, was attacked by a Komodo Dragon, while on a private tour of the Los Angeles Zoo. Bronstein had removed his white running shoes, so as not to confuse the reptiles, who are fed white rats. It was reported that Bronstein, an editor for the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, was only saved by Stone seductively uncrossing her legs – a la Basic Instinct – allowing the man to escape. He needed surgery to repair damaged tendons and a crushed big toe.

Like vultures, Komodo Dragons don’t mind their meat rotten and their prey includes snakes, fish, pigs, deer and the odd water buffalo. Much like snakes, the lizards use a forked tongue to smell dead animals, which they can sense up to 4km away. In one meal, a Komodo Dragon can eat 80% of its body weight, using shark-like teeth. As a result, the Komodo Dragon may only eat once per month and still not have to reach for midnight snacks like potato chips and cookies!

Indonesia: Born to be Wild

Born to be Wild Cocktail

  • 0.75 oz Pisang Ambon
  • 0.75 oz Tequila
  • 0.75 oz Vodka
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Splash of Limeade
  • Garnish with a Lime Wedge

As if Komodo Dragons weren’t bad enough, when Mrs. Sip and I were in Indonesia, the Sip Advisor was attacked by monkeys. One ended up on my back only to be chased off by a more dominant primate, who in turn, was chased off by another brute, with all the action occurring on a hunched over Sip Advisor, fearing for his life!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
This was a very good cocktail, which I made a few times after the first sampling. It is pretty potent, despite the light alcohol content of the Pisang Ambon, so imbibe at your own risk. This is basically a really awesome alternative to the delicious Long Island Iced Tea!

November 15 – Neon Ghost

What Not to Wear

The Sip Advisor would never call himself a fashionista, but I’ve seen a lot of crazy things in my time and have even worn some of them, myself. Here are some of the best and worst attire and accessory fads that the Sip Advisor can hang his head in shame for having adorned at one time or another… okay, it was just yesterday, but who’s counting!?

#5: No Fear T-Shirts

I don’t feel so bad about these inspirational shirts, which were especially big among anyone who played youth sports. Mrs. Sip likes to tell the tale of wearing baggy No Fear tops in grade school, long before she became an internationally adored mama cita! No Fear even released an energy drink at one point, but sadly, the company filed for bankruptcy in 2011. For playing an important role in the lives of many of the Sip Advisor’s peers, we tip our hat and recite the many positive apparel mottos.

No Fear shirts

#4: Starter Jackets

Sure, you could wear a normal jacket, perhaps even supporting your favourite local sports team, but if it wasn’t made by Starter, you just weren’t rocking the coolest athletic fashion of the time. There was even a ton of robberies of the jackets as their status symbol prominence rose. These jackets were puffy, thanks to the pouch at the front and made wearers look overly bulky. They would be perfect for smuggling flasks and other booze nowadays, so perhaps the company was on to something!

#3: Tear-Away Pants

The problem with Tear-Away pants (which buttoned up on the sides of the legs) is that people kept trying to rip them off each other, necessitating wearing shorts underneath, which kind of defeated the whole purpose. Girls stopped wearing them entirely, for fear of being exposed by some testosterone raging teen. You can still see tear-away pants, usually being rocked by male strippers, who have very little time to get their junk out in the open before lonely women can ravage them.

tear away pants

#2: Belly Bags/Fanny Packs

These pouches allowed users to tuck away (seriously, why were we so obsessed with attire that allowed having places to put our possessions in, during the 90’s?) an array of items, including wallets, sunglasses, medications, etc. They were like unisex purses and really came in handy while travelling. Problem was, they gave you an artificial gut, which didn’t look so attractive. Hilariously, the packs were called Bum Bags in the U.K., because the term fanny opens up a whole new can of worms.

#1: Neon Clothing

Oh man, there are some classic photos of the Sip Advisor and Broski Sip wearing bright neon wares… I’m sure everyone who lived through the early 90’s has at least one picture where they’re decked out in the most hideous of colours. Why were we so into such a horrible palate of hues? Anyone from that time who has vision problems today should be blaming neon clothes and not the popularity of computers. Neon colours should be strictly confined to cocktail and shot recipes… speaking of which!

Super Saturday Shot Day: Neon Ghost

Neon Ghost Shot

I’d like to think of my style as ‘lazy classy,’ but Mrs. Sip might not agree. Which clothing fads do you regret sporting? The Sip Advisor is always open for some reminiscing, so drop me a line anytime!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
Thanks to using Stoli Salted Karamel Vodka, this turned into a banana flambe flavoured drink, with notes of caramel at the end of the banana shooter. All those neon colours had me feeling nostalgic and the whole experience was very enjoyable.

August 9 – Secret of the Ooze

Reptile Rebellion

I’m a huge Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fan and have been since the cool dudes with attitudes hit the airwaves in 1987. With the movie reboot that came out last night, it’s time to dedicate some space to turtle power and discuss the greatest reptiles ever. Let the debate begin!

#5: The Fraternity of Crocodiles – Pearls Before Swine

Some of the funniest Pearls Before Swine comics involve the Fraternity of Crocodiles (under their official name of Da Brudderhood of Zeeba Zeeba Eata) trying to get their chompers wrapped around the animals of Albany, California. These crocs really aren’t very bright, but they’re enthusiasm for eating zebras is unrivaled. Their failed attempts at procuring dinner is akin to Wile E. Coyote’s efforts and you find yourself routing for the bad guy to pick up a win.

zeeba_zeeba_eata

#4: Geico Gecko

I love this little mascot, who despite his gentle nature, seems to have a bite to him, as well. He is, after all, the smartest man in the room at high-level Geico meetings and that might be saying something about the insurance industry in general. The Geico Gecko was born out of the 1999 Screen Actors Guild strike, which resulted in the company not being able to use live actors. Kelsey Grammar originally voiced the character, but he has evolved into more of an everyman gecko with a Cockney accent.

#3: Rango

Perfectly cast, with Johnny Depp providing the lizard’s voice, Rango is the tale of a fish-out-of-water chameleon, who becomes sheriff of the desert town of Dirt and uncovers a mystery involving the area’s drinking water. I also have to give Rango props for dealing with the dreaded Rattlesnake Jake, using his brains to defeat the brawny gunslinger. Anytime a slithering snake is defeated, the Sip Advisor is a happy man.

rango-fear-and-loathing

#2: Bowser – Nintendo

One of the greatest video game baddies of all-time, Bowser seems obsessed with Princess Peach to the point that he’s kidnapped her so many times she’s developed a severe case of Stockholm Syndrome and doesn’t mind playing board games and going go-kart racing with the evil lizard king. Bowser even has his family members getting in on the sinful acts and you may defeat them, but the princess will likely be in another castle!

#1: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

You had to know that these four heroes in a half shell would take the top spot. Of course, Michaelangelo is my favourite among the troupe, but each member of the team holds a special place in my heart and brings something different to the table. One of my favourite things about the TMNT franchise is all the different sidekicks and villains that were introduced, from Casey Jones to the Shredder, and all the Bebop’s and Rocksteady’s in between.

Super Saturday Shot Day: Secret of the Ooze (A Sip Advisor Original Recipe)

Aug 9

  • Rim glass with Candy Sugar
  • 0.5 oz Melon Liqueur
  • 0.5 oz Pisang Ambon
  • Splash of Sour Apple Mix
  • Dash of Lime Cordial

I have to throw some honourable mentions out to Dino (Flintstones), Godzilla, Tick-Tock (Peter Pan), Sir Hiss (Robin Hood), and Reptile (Mortal Kombat). One reptilian that is definitely on the hate list is Barney the Dinosaur… he gives all prehistoric beasts a bad name and should have been slaughtered by the Transformers Dinobots crew.

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
I wasn’t really happy with the Mutagen and other Ninja Turtles-themed drinks that already existed (although Drunken Moogle has a neat cocktail that actually uses the toy mutagen canister for its glass), so I built my own shot version, using as many green-coloured products I had in my arsenal. The results were a fruit punch of sorts, including the Lime Cordial Mrs. Sip and I made ourselves. This shooter also provided my first chance to use my new tilted shot glass, which goes perfectly with the theme, in my honest opinion.

Finland – Asterix

Metal Militia

Heavy metal music is huge in Scandinavia, particularly in Finland. Apparently there is even a bunch of sub-genres (death, black, folk, power, cello and symphonic)… who knew!? Let’s put on our leather and black make-up (is that even a metal thing?) and take a closer look at some of the country’s biggest metal acts:

Apocalyptica

This band is made up of three classically trained cellists (Eicca Toppinen, Paavo Lötjönen, and Perttu Kivilaakso) and drummer Mikko Sirén. The quartet originally began as a Metallica tribute group – yes, using nothing but cellos – before evolving into other styles of music. Apocalyptica has even worked with Mr. Gwen Stefani (aka Gavin Rossdale of Bush fame). Their 8th studio album should be out sometime this year for Finnish metal fanatics everywhere.

Stratovarius

Around since 1984 (although no original members have been with the band since 1995), Stratovarius is one of power metal’s most influential groups, releasing 18 albums over the last 30 years. Over that time, the ensemble has cycled through 15 different members, but has managed to remain critically and commercially successful. Some of their best singles include: Black Diamond, Speed of Light, and the 10-minute Destiny.

Sonata Arctica

Originally a hard rock band under the names Tricky Beans and later Tricky Means, the group finally settled on Sonata Arctica when moving to the power metal genre, although they prefer to call their style melodic metal. The unit cites Queen as a primary influence, as well as fellow Finnish metal band Stratovarius. A RPG-style (role playing) video game was even supposed to feature the band and their music, but was cancelled for unknown reasons.

Hevisaurus

First of all, great name (providing it means what I think it does: a massive kick-ass, metal wailing dinosaur) and second, they’re a children’s power metal band! Where else do you ever see the term “children’s power metal”!? I looked into it a little more and the band actually dresses up in dinosaur costumes for their performances and has a detailed backstory including being hatched from metal eggs that were dormant for 65 million years before lightning and witches’ spells cracked them open.

Children of Bodom

One of Finland’s best-selling musical acts of all-time, Children of Bodom’s style has been described by fans as melodic death metal, power metal, thrash metal, early symphonic black metal, and neoclassical metal (how can there be so many ways to describe one act!?). These guys aren’t making easy listening tunes, with album titles that include Hatebreeder, Hate Crew Deathroll, Are You Dead Yet?, Blooddrunk, and Halo of Blood. I hope they find peace in what they’re looking for!

Nightwish

The most successful Finnish band outside the country’s borders (and third best-selling within Finland), Nightwish has numerous chart-topping albums and singles around the world. For the group’s debut album, songs were written and performed in both Finnish and English, but the band has largely dropped their native tongue, with lead vocalist and keyboardist Tuomas Holopainen stating that “Finnish [could] quickly sound really cheesy.”

Lordi

This group (known for their concert theatrics, such as wearing masks, costumes, using pyrotechnics, and horror elements) won the 2006 Eurovision song contest with their “Hard Rock Hallelujah”. With the victory, they became the first rock act and Finnish band to place first in the competition. After their big win, Lordi hosted a free concert in Helsinki’s Market Square. The ensemble even have a soft drink named after them. Lordi Cola features artwork of the band and apparently tastes like death.

HIM

With their album Dark Light, HIM (His Infernal Majesty from The Satanic Bible) became the first Finnish group to have an album certified gold in the United States. The band has earned a reputation as a ‘love metal’ group and how could you not come to the same conclusion with album titles like Razorblade Romance and the use of a altered pentagram logo turned into a ‘heartagram.’ HIM has also been described by themselves and critics as ‘Goth N’ Roll’ and ‘Scandinavian Blues.’

Finland: Asterix

Asterix Cocktail

  • 0.75 oz Finlandia Vodka
  • 0.75 oz Pisang Ambon
  • Top with Lemon-Lime Soda
  • Dash of Lemon Juice
  • Garnish with a Cherry

While I lean more towards classic rock in my music preference, I have to say that many of these Finnish groups have great names and that’s a good start in the performance industry. Add in monster masks and dinosaur costumes and I might be sold on the whole genre!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4.5 Sips out of 5):
Wow, Finlandia Vodka is 2-for-2 when it comes to great cocktails. I just love the flavour of banana that comes through in the aftertaste thanks to the Pisang Ambon… and I’m not even a banana fan. Everything works well together here and I urge all you little sippers to give the drink a chance. It also looks so cool!