Beni spoke perfect English.
‘I said you’d be back before sunset.’
The trek normally took three hours round trip.
‘And you did it in a little under an hour.’
He took us over to his office, a little warung on the side of the road.
‘Now can I help you with anything else?’
I had heard about the properties of the herb. ‘Is it true you mix some volcano rock into it as well.’
‘If it’s true, I wouldn’t tell you.’ He smiled, showing off a nice set of healthy stained teeth. ‘But since you asked, yes it’s true. we do use sulphur rock, the yellow kind. We break it down and drain out it’s properties. Then we distill it again and mix it with ten different varieties of herbs that only grow on the slopes of this volcano.’
‘Can the stuff make you have a hard,’ asked Bernhard.
‘It can, if you buy the erotic version.’
‘Might be needing some for tonight,’ said Bernhard, who handed over two more red notes. Each red note is worth 100 000 Rupiah. Two notes is about four days work on an average Indonesian salary, working 12 hour shifts.
‘But you don’t understand the time and knowledge it takes to make the herbs,’ says Beni who passes Bernhard a little bag of the stuff. ‘Only take a small amount. Anymore, you’ll full under the classification of a walking erection.’
‘I don’t really need the stuff,’ said Bernhard, ‘I’ve got the stamina of a bull and easily fuck for ten hours straight.’
‘Well if that’s the case,’ said Beni, who snatched the packet of herbs off him, ‘then take this instead, it’s more of what I sold you earlier, but it might affect you differently. It’s called our night herb. Why not have a mystical experience while you are here? East Java isn’t just about hot chicks with big boobs, we are very mystical people too.’
Big tits and mysticism, that’s another reason why I’ve always been fond of East Java. Hardly any tourists come here.
‘They go to Bali and stay in Bali,’ said Beni, ‘but only the brave come here and realise that there’s so much more here than a dirty port town.’
Bunyuwangi kinda grew on you.
‘We love it too,’ said Beni. ‘It’s the gateway to Java and we are it’s gate keepers.’
And obviously you let us in.
‘Only the brave are rewarded. Now don’t you think you should go back to hooters. Or would you prefer to visit one of our villages on the outskirts of town. It’s near the pedestal of the one eye witch with horns.
This was very tempting.
‘Let me know, here’s my number. When you are done at Hooters, give me a call, and I’ll show you some real mysticism. Hold out on taking that new batch of herbs I gave you until we meet.’
I recalled passing that statue in the middle of the road, ten kilometers out of town.
‘Well turn the first left after that, go down 500 meters and turn right into a little village. You can’t miss it. I’ll see you there at midnight.’ He smiled and took a deep draw on his clove cigarette. ‘It’sn’t that what you call the witching hour?’
‘Trick or treat,’ said Bernhard, ‘Gotta go, see you later!’