A list of intriguing things
One: If anyone says ‘70s architecture’, it conjures up visions of giant ugly cement blocks. But, but, but how about La Muralla Roja (The Red Wall)—designed by Ricardo Bofill in Spain's Calpe? The interlocking stairs, platforms and bridges in this ‘fortress’—inspired by the North African casbah—make it every bit as delightful as a MC Escher painting.
FYI: If you’re wondering about that Escher reference…
Two: Ever been to a ‘maid cafe’? It’s a themed Japanese restaurant where women dress up as maids and serve their ‘masters’ or ‘princesses’. And although this is a Japanese thing that dates back to the 1990s, all of them are dressed in French maid outfits. These bizarre versions of household help will even sing and take selfies with you. FYI: “Because physical and personal contact is strictly prohibited, maids only interact with customers ‘in character.’” But let’s not fool ourselves—this is mostly about male fantasies about submissive females.
This glorious tradition is now going global and has everyone in Manchester all worked up about ‘UK’s only maid cafe’, which is being dissed as ‘Hooters for incels’—not that Hooters is the epitome of gender equality. Of course, there is now a robot maid cafe—which is both weirder and less creepy—as you can see below.
Is it a bit weird? Well, the human version looks like this. Just saying…
Three: Sticking with lifestyle, how about an “ancient drink” from Indonesia? Jamu is a homemade elixir that is at least 1,300 years old. The concoction is a "prayer for health"—made of ginger, turmeric, cloves, fennel, lime and tamarind. Yup, it doesn’t taste very good. But the upmarket version of this traditional drink is now giving fierce competition to hip barista bars in Jakarta:
Jakarta's Gen Z can be found ordering kunyit asam alongside golden lattes from the acaraki (the name for an herbal mixologist during the Majapahit empire). But rather than use a pestle and mortar like the jamu gendong, the acakari prepares each drink to order with the help of an electric coffee grinder, French press or V60 coffee dripper.
Hey, it looks way cooler than the average Starbucks cappuccino. (BBC News)