I have been working in Bangkok this week. Thoroughly enjoyable with an incredible mix of people, all working for my old employer. 25 people speaking probably 6 or 8 languages, different skin colours, backgrounds, cultures, religions……… all in complete harmony. It seems so easy. We had a real, live rocket scientist and a published author to give you some idea of just how broad a range of backgrounds they brought to the workshop. This post however is about me.
On Friday night I was exhausted and had an early dinner. My flight left early in the morning so my alarm was set for 5am. When I went back to my room there was a small cellophane wrapped package on the bed, containing a thin brown piece of chocolate. Normally I would eat the chocolate but this evening I just put it on the bedside cabinet, went for my shower and turned in. I fell asleep without a problem.
At 2am I woke feeling hungry. I remembered the chocolate. In the dark I fumbled for the package and opened it. The piece of chocolate was not solid but in stick form. Mmmm, I thought, maybe mint sticks! Just like the old Matchmakers. And I took one, put it in my mouth, crunched it and swallowed. After a few seconds a dreadful taste started to spread through me. I could not begin to imagine what the flavour was so I put on the light and looked for the pack of chocolate.
A piece of paper fell out. I read it. It said, in rough terms:
Take these sticks of jasmine and spread them around your room for a wonderfully relaxing fragrance.
Not chocolate. Incense sticks. Oh bum! I could not rid myself of the taste. It seemed to claw itself up from my stomach and taunt me all night. And I’m afraid I slept little after that. Jasmine smells beautiful but it clearly isn’t going to feature large in Delia Smith’s Cook Book or Martha Stewart’s Top Dessert Fillings. As decoration or garnish perhaps. No more. Perhaps I should have tried fire-eating afterwards and allowed the incense stick to burn within. The sweetest eructions ever.
The moral of this story is clear – all that looks like chocolate is not. Jasmine may make wonderful tea but it is better infused than ingested.
Health Warning: joss sticks are bad for your digestion.