Aug. 6 – spice tour on Banda Besar

We took a long boat over to Banda Besar that tied up to a dock that stretched far into the bay.  Plenty of history is buried on this island.  Our guide, Maga, took us through plantations of nutmeg and mace, stopping for demonstrations of collection and cultivation.  As cloves were drying in the sun Jim said the smell of cloves was delightfully overpowering.  Big chunks of cinnamon bark were peeled from trees and almonds were husked and offered for us to sample from 400 year old almond trees shading the nutmeg trees.  We passed vivid pastel colors of Dutch and Portuguese colonial houses.  Maga explained about the ruins left over starting in the 1400s when Banda was fiercely fought over by the English and the Dutch during the spice wars.  We hiked for hours, eventually making our way back to Mutiara for an exquisite lunch.

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