The drive back to the city always reinforces the feeling of how fortunate I am to live in a country of such staggering beauty. The lush vegetation bursting out as each bend along the twisting road flashes another scene, another vista, another illusion. But the closer one gets to Colombo the worse everything seems – from the change in scenes to the traffic to the pollution to the …well, everything. It’s an increasing downward spiralling consciousness – a major bummer!

Waasssat you sayin maan? Don you know dat beauty is in da beholder’s eye? Dere’s some beauty in jus about everytin maan – if you only bodder to check it out close. 

Shit Java! Enough of this philosophising. You go ahead and check out the beauty in that moron in the flat-bed container truck that just missed sending us down that rather steep incline. I’ll just keep on flashing evil thoughts at the turd and hope he turns turtle. 

Oh maaan! You be too uptight. Always da same – headin back to da city. But hey, hold on a bit dere, we got a date tonight – da whole reason dat we cut short da stay in da hills be to be dere when da ritual be on at da Dancer’s family Dance School. All dem drums an chantin for da Gods to protect da land and chase dem evil vibes out o dere. I can relate to dat shit maaan. Commune wit da Gods – Jah be dere an I be wit him – an you too maan. So loosen up and have a toke.

I know better than to pursue this train of Java’s thoughts. He’s right, though, the ritual is on and I have to attend – duty calls!

Hey maaan – you know what else be on tonite? 

What? I don’t remember another engagement and am sure that Java is mistaken. 

Suuure maan – you don tell me you forget dat ol Cinimod and his delectable Zaney be opening for dinner at da café on Bareass Boulevard? Sheeet maaan, dey never forgive me if I don show up – at least for a bit. Hey, know what? We be at da ritual for som time and den, if it not be too late, we head on down to Bareass an check it out. How bout dat? La petite Ma-daamme Kellouue be doin da menu maan – she be dere in Portugal checkin out da cuisine an last time I check her out she be ravin dat she blow our minds wit som mout-waterin fare, bro. I tell her to get som organic herb an stuff from da farm in da hills an she say yeah, so what you say? 

We are close to home now and I don’t want to get into any conflicting exchange of views, so I say nothing. Java also knows when to let things be. I reach home. A few hours later the ritual begins. The whole family is there, with dancers and drummers and the ones who guide the proceedings. It is fascinating. I’ve been through these all-night ceremonies before and find them strangely haunting. The centuries old traditions passed down orally through the generations predates Christ and although they are bound to be diluted to some extent, the crux of the whole process is very much as it was way back in time. Some hours pass. Concentration on the chants have stilled the mind and a calm vibration settles on everyone.

Pssst maaan, hey bro…  

He’s got past my barrier and is in my ear.  

What say we check out da happenin at Bareass Boulevard Café. No one say anytin bout not leavin after a while and da Dancer – she say you could get back after da first part of da ceremony. Now’s da time to split maan, or we will be too late and da café be closed and Cinimod and da vibrant Zaney be pissed off at us maan.

 I’m not going anywhere but to bed. So I motion to her, make my discreet exit and head for home and bed……………………………..but not for long! Or so it seems at the time……………I’ve got to be dreaming………….Java floats by on a cloud of smoke – smiling beatifically, doob between his fingers, looking so very relaxed…I’m impressed! 

Wha happen to you maaan? Sheeet! Yo ass was missed – an yo suuure miss some fine-ass cuisine. Check dis out… 

He carefully unwraps a large white covered object (turns out to be a menu – very swanky) and reads:

S o u p s

Broccoli Soup with Blue Cheese

Mushroom Soup

Prawn and Spinach Soup

Grilled Aubergine and Tomato Soup

Chilled Cucumber Soup

S t a r t e r s

Smoked and Fresh Salmon Terrine

Prawn and Mushroom Vol-Au-Vents

Farm House Pâté

Spinach Roulade

Grilled Vegetable with Basil and Tomato Vinaigrette

Cheesy Onion Tomato and Basil en Croute

Dat soun good to you maaan? Deres a whoooole lot more. Yo jus hold on. I ain’t gonna read da whole ting maaan, but da main dishes be mout-waterin. 

Aaaannyways, when I walk on in, da place be buzzin. All da tables be occupied wit a good ol cross-section of dat Colombo society – you know da scene maan. Hum of conversashun, clatter of silver and tinkling of glasses. Soft lights, cool jazz and da delectable Zaney. She be sittin dere wit her man Cinimod, and wit dem Meela, da sweet architect in residence, Indiana (no relative of ol Java, yo hear) jus back from his further adventures relatin to cybernetics (still be tryin to decipher dat lost Ark of da Covenent maaan and getting no closer dan he been all dis time), Bastin – witout his winsome Windimere (she be visitin her family back home in England maaan – leavin ol Bastin all by hisself – sheet!) and yo fren Illurik – who, like your’s truly – jus be dropping by. Dey call me over an we shoot da shit. Dinner jus bein served, so dey make me an offer – hard to refuse maan. So Illurik an me, we share a Prawn an Mushroom Vol-Au-Vent (Java puts on  his best French accent for this!). Jus melts in da mout maaan. An I ain’t all dat hungry – not after all dat ceremonial food we been partakin of.

Aaannnway…….soon da main course com by. Dey bin orderin all sorts of stuff maaan. Meela, she get a  Skewered Grill wit biiig-ass prawns, huge chunks of som kinda meat an all sorts of udder goodies – all sqewered wit da skewer hangin over her plate – like som kinda levitatin phallic symbol maan. She turn Illurik an Java to som of her prawn. Whooo-wheee! Best fuckin prawn I ever have maaan. Cooked jus right – not too soft, but jus soft enough. Not burned on da grill, but jus enough. What can I say? Yo be soft in da head to miss dis. Ol Cinimod, generous as usual, passes us some of his Grilled Miso Salmon. Illurik an I – we both had our meal earlier, but we can’t say no. It jus be too good. Melt in da mout maaan. An den, som time later – all manner of deserts are placed before us – Margarita Pie, Chocolate and Cashewnut Torte, Triple Layer Mousse, Strawberry Torte, an I don know what else. I ain’t even gonna begin to describe da sensations maaaan. Le Petite Ma-damme Kellooue, she gone an outdone her big ass. Best fuckin food in town – an I mean IN DA WHOLE CITY maaan – which mean in da country – yo hear me. Yo better get yo ass down dere wit da Dancer an enjoy.  

An speaking of Ma-damme le Petite, here she com. Puts her shapely big butt on da chair, tosses her wind-swept locks (yo see her new hairdo maaan?) an she keeps dat table goin wit her free and breezy chat. Sense o humour dat broad have in excess. I tell her dat nex time she mus be all dressed up to look da part. Tonight she be all casual an straight. She tell me in secret dat she be desperate fo our mutual fren on dis big occasion – for morale support no doubt. But he be gone for da weekend. So I make sympatico noises and promise to convey da message. I tell her to send a cryptic text an wait for reacshun. She blushes maaan – childhood crush dat never fade – if yo can dig dat romantic shit!

After she leave us, da lovely Zaney an Cinimod an da rest of us shoot da shit bout da possibilities here, now dat fine cuisine be part of da trip – maybe add some element of theatre to da atmosphere an do some faaar out an freaky tings dat will blow da minds of da average honky an local alike. We be trippin on dis. Bastin has picked up a pussy an be stroking her wit a wistful look on his face. Cinimod say she from da street, but plan to make her da in-house pussy for love-lorn cats like Bastin be tonite. Den com da espresso. An Cinimmod, he be keeping his beady eye on dis and surreptisushly call over da waiter an tell him somting in his ear. Da espresso be gone in an instant an den be replaced wit anodder. Cinimod see som defect and rectify instantly. Jus go to show!

Now it be getting late an mos of da crowd dey be goin. Music’s waftin tru da breeze – ‘Blusette’ – very cool and jazzy saxophone solo. Perfecto maaan! Den Illurik makes noises about getting back, so we say ‘tanks’ and ‘later’ –  kiss Zaney and hug Cinimod fo luck and head out da door. An now here I am. Still got ma taste buds zinging maaan. We mus tell da frens to check out Bareass café if dey want some reeeel fine cuisine. All dem udder cafes maan, dey mus have ta eat dere hearts out. 

Java’s cloud floats on by. I must be dreaming again.