Lily Maritza, 30, from Jakarta, opened Istana Raja Kobra 10 years ago, a shop and restaurant at the Dewa Ruci roundabout in Kuta that specialises in cobra blood and meat as well as other natural remedies made from animals that are meant to treat health problems. She shared her day with Carla Albertí de la Rosa.
God is the first thing I think of when I wake up at 6.30. I pray and then I get ready to start my day. I take a shower, get dressed and then prepare breakfast for my family. I usually have two fried eggs with some boiled rice and drink black tea and orange juice. I drive my one-year-old son to pre-school at 8 and then get to my shop at 9.
Selling cobra meat and blood has been a tradition in our family since 1966. We specialize in poisonous snakes’ blood and bile. The bile is good to get rid of toxins and to improve bad circulation. Cobra blood awakens you and gives you energy. We usually cut the cobra alive so people can drink its blood directly – though I recommend those who come for the first time not to see it as they might feel a bit shocked. Some people might want pure blood or might want it mixed with Chinese rice wine.
We keep Chinese herbs in rice wine for three years and then we use it to mix it with cobra blood. I have many kinds of herbs for different problems. They are what treat your problem directly. Many people come in looking for a cure for asthma or diabetes and we will give one herb or the other depending on the case.
Others come to clean their liver, especially Russians, who are our main customers. They like to drink vodka, so they have many problems with their liver. They drink cobra blood and have some bile to purify it. If customers come to my shop to treat a specific problem, then I tell them they have to come in three times a week, and after drinking blood eight to 10 times they start seeing results.
At work I check my staff are doing their job and make sure I train them so they know what each thing is for and they can inform customers about the different herbs and natural pills we have.
I have to pick up my son from pre-school before lunch, at 11.30. I drop him home in Nusa Dua and then come back to the shop for lunch. I like to have an early lunch, so I sometimes eat at 12. We have a wide selection on our menu, like monkey or turtle meat; they’re both very good for the skin. But my favourite dishes are fried python meat and Hong Kong cobra soup. In China snake is a common dish, particularly when it’s cold over winter, when they will often make snake soup.
My grandparents are from China and they moved to Jakarta and opened their first cobra restaurant there 44 years ago. I like my job because it helps a lot of people. I drink some cobra blood if I’m not feeling very well and I can feel energetic immediately after. If I’m feeling fine I just have my meal with green tea. But for the last couple of months I haven’t drank blood because I’m pregnant. I just have a spoonful of bile with honey, and I sometimes give it to my son as well.
I check my emails and depending on how I feel I will stay longer in the shop or I’ll go home. I usually go home at 3 or 4. I play with my son and make him learn new things. I also teach him how to read.
In my spare time I like to go shopping at Discovery Mall and over the weekend I enjoy visiting Bedugul Lake or Ubud, because the scenery is beautiful and it’s much cooler there. My great passion is trying new food from different places, although there are some things I never eat. I don’t like eating monkey, rat or dog meat. Dogs and monkeys are close to humans, and I don’t eat rat because I just hate them.
Dinner is early, around 5 or 6. We have someone to cook for us at home. I like to spend my evening reading books about natural herbs and I’m interested in finding out more about different religions. I enjoy learning. At night I watch movies – any genre is good except horror. That usually puts me to sleep no later than midnight.Filed under: One Day