BOURDAIN: Mention the name Bajor, and there's an image that comes to mind.
A soft focus lens displays the curved golden dome of a white temple tower that peeks through the mist in the fold of a valley. Tiny red and purple robed figures walk serenely under rounded windows at the top of the tower.
BOURDAIN: Quaint temples for a quaint people in need of the paternalistic guidance. That would be the Cardassian propaganda talking.
In the closer view, a short red stone monument stands in stark focus. Bronze Bajoran script flows down the side of the monument like the dew dripping on the reflective surface of the red stone.
BOURDAIN: Or there's this. The Cardassian Occupation of Bajor.
Shaky footage of a Cardassian drop shuttle racing over a crowd.
BOURDAIN: With overwhelming force, the Cardassian Central Command toppled the government of the Second Bajoran Republic and began a half century of brutal military rule.
Dark objects drop onto the crowd below. Explosions. A Bajoran woman picks up a terrified child. Looks for a safe place to run. Another explosion. The footage cuts away.
BOURDAIN: Entire mountains removed through strip-mining.
A stark open pit mine. A jagged wound in a barren landscape dotted with blackened and stunted trees. The mine's concentric circles going deeper and deeper into the red earth below the camera's view.
BOURDAIN: Landscapes poisoned from heavy metal dumping.
Tributaries of yellow and orange sludge glump from a factory's pipes. Beyond the river is on fire.
BOURDAIN: Work camps. Slavery. Mass executions. Leaving families with the choice of staying on their world, or fleeing to the questionable safety of refugee camps.
Ramshackle lean-tos clustered along a dry river bed. Ragged Bajoran children run between buildings while their parents cook over open fires.
BOURDAIN: Some people like to think, I'm not one of them I should mention, that when this footage was presented before the Federation Council is when the tide started to turn for Bajor. When the Federation got its head out its collective ass to put pressure on the Cardassian Central Command to leave Bajor.
Footage. The camera bounces and shakes in an unsteady hand. The lens half obscured by a swath of red cloth. For a mere second, the viewer sees a frame of an open pit grave. The camera pans back to reveal this is a presentation to the representatives of Federation Council. A Bajoran man points to the image screen and speaks half muffled words.
BOURDAIN: But there's one more thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Bajor, and it's this.
Camera shifts to a square in the Cardassian capital. The grey rain falls from a grey sky on grey clad Cardassian soldiers and civilians listening to a droning speech by an official at a grey podium. A yellow flash of light. The camera rocks. Dense black smoke plumes over the plaza. The cracking audio picks up screams. The smoke clears to reveal the wounded and the dead. A Cardassian soldier picks up a child and runs.
BOURDAIN: The Bajoran resistance, or terrorists as the Cardassian High Command liked to call them. They conducted a relentless and dogged guerilla campaign on every Cardassian controlled world and a few off-world.
Slightly off focus footage of a smiling human standing in front of a giant statue of a golden bow, its red fletched arrow half embedded in the ground. The human puts one hand on a statue of a red and blue heart, and waves with the other. In the background, pedestrian traffic makes its way across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. There's a scream. A dull boom. The camera turns to show the front of the Cardassian embassy, a ground vehicle half embedded in the front of the square stone building.
BOURDAIN: The real picture is good deal more complicated.
A bustling city. Golden domes peek out between office buildings. The skyline is full of cranes and half built buildings. Ground cars make their way along busy streets. A woman with a box of fruit approaches each vehicle trying to sell her wares. There are open pit mine scars in the hills around the city. More than one building shows damage from active fighting.
BOURDAIN: If an hour program can claim to really get at something as fluid as real.
What comes to your mind when you think of Bajor? If you ever think about a world so distant from your own?
A slender Bajoran man in his mid-forties wearing a simple blue tunic and a delicate Bajoran earring with long dangling strands stares straight at the camera. Behind him the walls are thick with leather bound books with Bajoran script on the spines. Bajoran artwork. "Why is the station near the wormhole called Deep Space Nine? Deep space compared to what? Where? I can get there from Bajor in about an hour. What makes that Deep Space?"
BOURDAIN: What we choose to show you, and what you choose to see and hear matter. Names matter. Words matter. Terrorist. Freedom Fighter. Pacification. Occupation.
A shot of Bourdain looking up at the rounded entrance of the Bajoran tower from the first shot.
BOURDAIN: Prophets. Wormhole aliens.
A middle aged woman in deep red religious robes crouches next to a small tilled field on a hillside. She brushes leafy green leaves with gentle fingers. With a quick twist of her wrist, she pulls up a long purple root vegetable. She says, "Of course, I believe in the Prophets. Don't you believe in your parents? Your children? Don't you think they want good things for you?"
"I believe in the Prophets. I just think they're *bleep," says the Bajoran man from before.
Bourdain leans back in a chair on a rooftop patio in the middle of a busy city. Bourdain asks, "Do you see much activity by the Resistance during the Occupation?"
An elderly Bajoran woman with a scarred face, broad stocky frame, and bright brown eyes sits at a table next to Bourdain. "Of course. I was in it." She shrugs. "We all were. The lizards were here for 50 years. It was resist or die." She laughs and drinks from a steaming cup. "But they're gone and we're still here. Still standing." She looks down at her chair. "Sitting." Laughs even harder.
I took a walk through this beautiful -verse
Scenes of Bourdain walking across a blue ice lake on Andoria while planet rise occurs in the background.
Felt the cool rain on my shoulders
A shot of the industrial facility that controls Risan weather.
I took a walk through this great big beautiful universe
The San Francisco Golden Gate wreathed in fog below a Starfleet transport vessel rising into the air.
A red and gold desert on Vulcan with a red spired city just visible beyond the dunes.
I felt the rain getting colder
Bourdain walks across camera in a classical music t-shirt, the Ramones, jeans and cowboy boots. Disappears from view leaving only the desert, which lingers in view for ten seconds before fading to black.
BOURDAIN: On the five week civilian transport from Earth, it's easy to think of Bajor as existing on the edge of the known universe.
Shots of antiseptic grey and white rooms in a common transport.
BOURDAIN: The edge of Federation space. Five weeks of recycled air, holodeck hollow entertainment, and food from a replicator eaten in a 8 foot by 8 foot box. After that, it's hard to imagine anything is real. But there are few places, much more real than Deep Space Nine, known by the inhabitants as DS9.
DS9 comes into view. Nothing like the glowing light of a Federation space station familiar to viewers in other episodes and series. Its curved pronged pylons are dark in the vastness of space. The metal pitted.
BOURDAIN: Originally an ore refinery for minerals pulled out of Bajoran soil, run with the use of Bajoran slave labor. Operations punctuated by Resistance attacks. It's now managed by Starfleet and has been relocated next to the only known stable wormhole, which connects the Alpha quadrant, because of course we named our own quadrant the Alpha quadrant, with the Gamma quadrant.
A shot from space. At first there's nothing but darkness. Stars. There's a flash of light that blooms like a vast flower into a wormhole. A Federation starship flies out, which is only small by comparison to the wormhole. A fact that becomes clearer as the ship approaches and flies past the camera's viewpoint.
BOURDAIN: DS9 is commanded by Captain Benjamin Sisko, whose negotiations with the aliens that live inside the wormhole and maintain its stability have turned him into a sort of religious figure among the Bajorans – much to the discomfort of Starfleet.
The scene shifts to space docks that are hardly less utilitarian that the exterior of the station. There are beings from throughout the Federation bustling about their business pushing carts full of goods.
A tall Starfleet officer with a captain's pips walks with assurance through the throng. Most people ignore him. But a small group of Bajorans in flowing robes that have just disembarked from a transport stop as he goes by. He smiles at them. Greets them warmly and walks on.
BOURDAIN: I don't normally begin by sharing a meal with the Starfleet Commander of the Space Station near where I'll be visiting, and a religious figure at that, but I've met Benjamin before.
A still image of a younger Bourdain standing next to an elderly gentleman under a sign that read's "Sisko's Creole Kitchen." Next to them is a somber looking Sisko with a lieutenant's pips, uniform, and short black hair rather than his current bald head.
BOURDAIN: I was fortunate enough, in my first year doing this ridiculous thing I'm lucky enough to do, to visit Sisko's Creole Kitchen in New Orleans. There was nothing gastro in Joseph Sisko's kitchen. Nothing hipster trendy. There's absolutely nothing hipster about his son, Benjamin Sisko. A few short months after the Borg nearly destroyed the Earth, there we were. A bewildered soon to be former chef and a Starfleet officer, and father to a son, Jake. Benjamin and Jake are both survivors of the battle of Wolf 359. We spent time eating jambalaya and smoked pork. Talking about the meditative power of baseball. The story of inevitable ends that's buried in the blues.
A series of still photos* of the younger Sisko and Bourdain passing by a graveyard. Holding curved pork ribs. Faces glistening with sauce and fat. In the background, the rhythm of the Delta blues croons.
The scene shifts back to present day. Sisko greets Bourdain saying, "Ready for some real home cooked food?"
Bourdain looks back up the gangway at the transport. "I've eaten nothing but replicator food for a month."
"That's a yes then." Sisko's smile is wide and genuine. Showing none of the haunted shadows from the previous image. "Follow me."
In the next scene, Sisko is in civilian clothes, an African print tunic, pants, and an orange skull cap with a blue denim apron. He skillfully dices an unfamiliar looking purple root on a much used cutting board. He says, "The food of the South, the food of the Caribbean, is the food of the African diaspora. Chilis from the New World went back to West Africa." His expression is droll as he says the word new. "Watermelon from Africa to the Americas. Spices. Flavors. Recipes went back and forth."
He chops several more slices.
"The Bajorans understand diaspora." He grins and stabs the knife through a round of the root and offers it to Bourdain. "As I recall you like spicy food. This is a local root from Bajor."
Bourdain takes the slice and bites into it. Coughs, turning slightly red. Blinking tears from his eyes. "That's…" He coughs. "Going to hurt again in a few days." Bites again. A smaller bite this time.
Sisko says, "It's a Bajoran fila tuber. I've been incorporating more and more local ingredients into my cooking." His smile is wide and bright in his dark face.
A lanky teenager comes into view. He waves his hand in front of his face. "Pe-ew! Chitterlings. Why can't you just replicate them so we can skip the smell?"
"I take it that means you don't want your share, Jake," says Sisko calmly, who resumes chopping.
"I wouldn't say that," says the teen hastily.
BOURDAIN: For those who don't know Benjamin's son, Jake is talking about, chitterlings are made from small intestines, typically pigs, which are cleaned - thoroughly - and simmered for hours. They are in a word, delicious.
Jake sets the table. Sisko rubs the top of Jake's head, who twists away in the manner of teenagers across the universe. He looks at Bourdain with an eager expression and sends his father pleading glance.
Sisko sighs. "Yes, fine. You'll obviously explode if you don't."
Jake sprints off-camera and returns with a tablet. He holds it out to Bourdain, who looks at it and laughs. Jake says, "I've read everything you've written. I want to be a writer myself."
"Not for the faint hearted," says Bourdain. He uses his finger to write something on the screen and hands the tablet back to Jake.
The scene cuts to the meal. There are bowls full of brown rice, black eyed peas, and greens. On a white ceramic plate dense cornbread sits like piled bricks of gold. In the place of honor, is a blue ceramic container full of pale white chitterlings.
Bourdain forks some from his plate, dips it in a small ramekin of sauce and bites in with appreciation. Jake, seeing Bourdain's enjoyment, dives into the meal with a teenager's gusto. Sisko is more measured. He says, "My father always used to say that in the South, we eat everything from the pig except the oink."
"The food of necessity and scarcity," says Bourdain.
"Exactly. Now before you rhapsodize about pork too much, I should admit this isn't pork."
Bourdain stops eating. "Do not tell me this was raised in a vat." He puts down a chitterling. "Do not tell me this is bean protein. I saw you cleaning it. I helped you clean it."
"No," Sisko laughs and shakes his head. "This is from a similar Bajoran animal. The Bajorans have a very similar recipe. I've made a variation on dad's Pli Pli hot sauce using the tubers."
"Diaspora," says Bourdain.
"And necessity," says Sisko.
The scene shifts. Jake has left the room and the plates have been cleared.
Sisko pours something white into the ceramic cup in front Bourdain, who leans back, gives Sisko a look.
Sisko sighs. "Out with it."
"I've got to ask." Bourdain sips from his cup. "The Emissary. The only person less likely to be a religious figure is me. How are you handling it?"
Sisko taps the side of his empty plate with a spoon and looks off into the middle distance. A faint smile on his lips. "At first, I resisted the entire idea. Insisted on talking about the wormhole aliens. Starfleet protocol, but… Bajor has a way of getting into your bones. Lungs. Heart."
Bourdain looks at Sisko disbelievingly. "But some sort of prophecy that has you as some sort of holy man savior. You're not buying into that are you?"
Sisko merely laughs. He reaches over and picks up the sole remaining piece of cornbread. He holds it in his left hand and tosses it to his right. "For the Prophets, that bread is simultaneously in my left hand, my right hand, and flying through the air. It's the corn that hasn't yet grown in hydroponics. It's the water brought up from Bajor. It's the wild yeast floating in the air of a Cardassian ore refinery full of Bajorans walking on station with the dust of every inch of Bajor on their shoes."
"And I suppose it's the burning shit that this kind of meal produces too." Bourdain smile is just a bit combative.
"Yes," says Sisko simply. "And whatever we grow in hydroponics out of that. It's all of it all at once. So, yes. Half the time, I end up arguing with them, but I bought a plot of land in Kendra province where I'll grow Kava fruit after I retire. Bajor is where I'm going to lay down my bones." He shrugs. "Or at least the Prophets haven't told me differently."
"And do they? Argue back?"
"Sometimes." Sisko sips from his cup and smiles. "Not that they make a lot of sense. They're nonlinear. I don't expect it to make much sense."
A door chime rings.
BOURDAIN: Normally, when this sort of thing happens, it's a setup. Our fixer arranges to have someone drop by with a bottle. But allow me to state, insist really, that what followed was not planned.
The front door slides open and a trill woman stands in the door in a blue-green Starfleet uniform. She's holding two dusty bottles of liquor of unknown origin. "I heard you were doing some sort of popcorn promo for Bajor, and didn't invite me."
"Come in old man," says Sisko with a sigh.
She strolls in and puts the bottles down on the table with a sturdy thunk. "I brought spring wine from Kendra province."
BOURDAIN: In my defense, I had no idea when we met that Lieutenant Jadzia Dax is a conjoined trill. On her eighth host.
The camera lens closes as if an eye were blinking. A shot of the table, one bottle is uncorked and half empty. There are glasses of red liquid in front of all three of them. Dax says, "Which was why we sent the Klingon Ambassador a metric ton of salamanders." Bourdain is smiling and nodding. Sisko laughs.
Another eye blink. The first bottle is on its side. The second bottle is uncorked. The wine glasses are now half full of blue liquid. Dax says, "Yes, but have you had gagh where the serpents have spent the month before swimming in blood wine. The wine mixes with their intestinal juices." Bourdain's slouched posture is a touch louche. Sisko has pushed his glass away from him.
Another lense eye close. Both bottles are empty and a square brandy bottle has appeared. Bourdain looks blearily at Dax, mouth loose and happy. Dax says, "That's hilarious. Kurzon slept with his wife."
BOURDAIN: She had the constitution of a much younger Trill.
Chapter 4: Sponsor Break
"We've advanced beyond the need for money." A stack of various paper currencies blows away in a breeze.
"When energy is plentiful as sunshine." The sun shines down on the golden walls of the Colosseum in Rome. "Holodecks can send a traveler anywhere they want from the comfort of their corner holosuite."
An elderly Human woman standing in a cardigan says, "Holodeck off," and the ancient ruin shifts to a black room crossed with yellow lines. She steps out of the holosuite and drops something into a basket on a sturdy oak shelf.
"Where any meal is a matter of imagining it." A mother pulls a beautifully browned turkey dinner out of a home replicator unit and places it on a mahogany table.
"What matters is what we make with our hands."
The image shifts to humans constructing wooden furniture in various styles. "We at Amish Farms have been hand crafting bespoke furniture for over three hundred years. When it's worth having, it's worth trading your social credits for handcrafted goods. The love is in how it's made."
BOURDAIN: After three anti-hangover shots, I headed for my next stop, Bajor itself. Just to be clear, shows like this involve a lot of choices. Choices for what we do and don't have time to show you. It's not possible to encapsulate an entire planet in a single episode. Which is why viewers sometimes get the impression that entire worlds look like Vancouver or LA. Some rock quarry in Wales.
Stock footage shots of a redwood forest outside of Vancouver, Canada. A particularly triangular rock in a desert park in LA, California. A rock quarry in Wales, Britain.
BOURDAIN: Our destination, armed with an introduction by Benjamin, was the sort of place that makes my producers wet themselves. Radja monastery. The quaint religious site you were thinking about at the top of the hour.
A soft focus lens lingers on the curved golden dome of a white temple tower that peeks through mist. Distant red and purple robed figures walk serenely under rounded windows at the top of the tower.
The camera pulls back to display a short red stone monument stands in stark focus. Bronze Bajoran script flows down the side of the monument like the dew dripping on the reflective surface of the red stone.
BOURDAIN: The difference, it used to be the site of one of the largest labor camps on Bajor.
The camera pans down from the misty hill. Below the red monument are rows of graves simply marked with red stones. Colorful flowers and fruit are scattered among the graves. Several men and women in purple and blue robes tend the graves.
The camera pans over worn out barracks that are half falling apart. Beyond them, the ragged and half broken line of a localized force field wall straggles its way into the golden hills beyond.
BOURDAIN: We're greeted at the monastery by Ranjen Pavan. A sort of bishop in the Bajoran religion, and the source, as I found out, of much of Sisko's produce.
Bourdain and Ranjen Pavan walk through the graveyard and past a fence into a neatly tilled fields in appears to have once been a yard in front of officer's quarters. She holds a basket in one hand.
BOURDAIN: Once the Bajorans learned Benjamin likes to cook with fresh ingredients, he had to discourage pilgrims to DS9 and the Wormhole, or as it's called by the Bajorans, the Gateway to the Celestial Temple, from bringing him food they could better use themselves. So Radja monastery is designated as the official source of the Emissary's collard greens. Or the Bajoran equivalent of collard greens. The funds for which go to supporting the onsite orphanage. More on that in a bit.
They pass through a broken force field fence and under a guard tower on long metal legs that dig deep into the earth. There's nothing planted around it. The soil below it is discolored.
Bourdain asks, "You were kept here during the occupation. What made you want to stay? I would have thought you'd have wanted to get as far from here as possible."
"Some did. Many." She smiles serenely at him. "Anyone who was a dedicate of the Prophets was sent to the labor camps." She turns down a small branch in the path that leads up a hill to a field full of green growing things. "They had us growing Cardassian plants that could not thrive in this soil." She bends down to briefly touch a leaf. "So they brought Cardassian dirt and ordered us to grow Cardassian food in that, but it never thrived." She wrinkles her nose. "There's possibly a parable from the Prophets in that."
Bourdain crouches next to her. "How can you still believe in the Prophets? Even after spending decades in this camp? Even after everything that happened to Bajor?"
She holds up her hand. A small green insect is crawling around on the back of her hand. "Of course, I believe in the Prophets. Don't you believe in your parents? Your children? Don't you think they want good things for you? People have held faith in far less benevolent beings. They were a great comfort while I was confined here. Knowing that because they are outside of time, they already knew we could come through this provided we had faith."
"Faith and the Resistance," said Bourdain dryly.
She laughs. "The Prophets only guide. Send suggestions. View a thousand paths. It's up to us to follow the path that they illuminate. The future is made of a million paths." She pulls up a plant. "After all, if I don't tend this field, it would be full of weeds." She tilts her head. "Of course, during the occupation, I learned to cook weeds. So, some might say this is a field of weeds."
The scene shifts to a long wide kitchen lined on each side with rounded windows open to the air. She taps a wooden spoon against the side of a large clay pot. She dips it in the broth and extends it to Bourdain. "I call this soup the tears of the Prophets."
"And it's made from weeds."
"And beetles for protein."
Bourdain takes the large spoon, sips the broth, and groans in evident pleasure. "I can see why the Prophets cry."
"I like to think they are sipping this soup right now."
They sit at a long wooden table full of monks. Monks eat soup from bowls and white starchy vegetable mash.
Bourdain asks, "Why build the monastery here? A place of so much suffering."
An old monk with wide green eyes says, "It was here before they came. That's why they built the camp here to try and break our spirit. To desecrate our most holy places." She rolls up her wide sleeves to reveal old scars up and down her arms, and picks up her bowl to drink from it with loud slurping noises.
Ranjen Pavan looks out the wide windows to the view of the tower and the graveyard. "It never occurred to them that by sending us here, it would remain a monastery even then. As it is still."
A young monk asks, "Let me ask you this Mr. Anthony, have you been to broken places. Where so much blood has spilled in the soil that you feel the pain and death that occurred there."
Bourdain thinks for a while. Expression thoughtful. "Yes."
Shots flicker from the previous five seasons. Former battlefields. Bunkers. Withered forests.
Bourdain says, "Yes, I have."
"I think that by being here, we help the dead rest and let the blood become part of the soil," says the monk.
"Also, it has really good soil once we got the Cardassian crap off of it," says a monk so old and withered he's practically bent in half over the table.
Some of the monks laugh, while Ranjen Paven looks troubled.
BOURDAIN: Now about that orphanage.
Camera pans over over the dining room. At first the sound of children's high voices is a distant echo. Rising higher and higher along with stomping feet as Bajorans in blue and red robes lead groups of Bajoran children into the room. The children glance as the table where Bourdain is sitting. Some point.
"Not used to seeing humans?" asks Bourdain.
Ranjen Pavan answers. "They know that the Emissary is human. That many of the Starfleet personnel on the Gateway to the Celestial Temple are human."
"And how do they feel about that? A non-Bajoran as the Emissary."
"It concerns some, but the children have other concerns closer to home," says Ranjen Pavan.
There's a lull in the chatter. The camera displays a soft focus of several Cardassian children hanging together in the back. The camera focuses and it becomes clear it's not that clear cut. Their neck ridges are soft and not pronounced. The ridges on their noses indicate Bajoran ancestry.
"There are many kinds of orphans," says Ranjen Pavan.
BOURDAIN: Some of these kids have Cardassian fathers killed by Resistance bombs. Some of these kids have Bajoran mothers killed as collaborators. Others, they were left behind. These kids don't have feet in two worlds. They're growing up in the work camp where one half of their heritage tried to break the other half.
You're probably hoping a feel good moment. Maybe a play in a barn or a baseball game, Benjamin's favorite game.
One of the Bajoran children calls out a name. A Cardassian-Bajoran child turns. They say something that the camera doesn't quite pick up. The Bajoran holds something out to the other child, and points back down to the stairs. They exchange the object and after a few more words and go sit down at separate tables. Ladle themselves bowls of soup. Mounds of starch onto plates. Talk animatedly with their friends.
BOURDAIN: Then again, maybe that's as feel good as we can get right now.
Chapter 6: Sponsor Break
"Experience theater as it was meant to be. All the tragedies."
A woman in a Greek purple chiton holds up hands covered in blood and points at a weeping man cowering on the ground in front of her. A man wearing a crown clutches his eyes as blood streams down his face.
"All the comedy."
An old clown in a balloon sails above an earthen stage surrounded by curving stone seats set into the hillside. Women in short Spartan armor jump in a complicated dance, while the audience laugh.
"Live and in person at the Amphitheater in Corinth. Experience theater as our human ancestors did nearly three thousand years ago." Ushers holding guttering torches guide the audience down the inclines to padded seats above the round theater. "Easy transport from anywhere on Terra. Performances nightly and twice Monday. Greek theater. Live and in person as entertainment was meant to be."
BOURDAIN: Sisko also put me in touch with Professor Ardal Narav, who teaches Physics at the University of Ashalla, Bajor's capital city.
The thin faced man from the introduction greets Bourdain, who looms large in the tiny overstuffed room.
Narav laughs and says, "The University saves space for classes by putting teaching staff in closets. But," he shrugs, "It's better than teaching in a refugee camp."
"So you weren't on Bajor during the Occupation."
Narav shakes his head. "No, my parents bought a used garbage scow from a Ferengi trader. My parents," he smiles, "and fifty other families. The way they tell it, they crammed into that thing, hoping, praying to the Prophets that they would survive."
Bourdain leans against the bookshelf. "It would seem the Prophet's listened."
"The craft failed three days out. The nav systems didn't work. No one knew how to fix it. We all headed for the life pods. My oldest brother didn't survive." Araval's eyes flicker down. "It's why although I believe in the Prophets, I just think they're *bleep*. They had the power to prevent the Occupation and did *bleep* all to warn us." His expression is wry. "As you may guess, I have tenure. Now come, you won't see much of Ashalla in here.
The scene cuts to a street scene. They walk past temples crammed between growing office buildings.
"There's a lot of construction," says Bourdain.
"The Cardassians left a lot of destruction," says Narav wryly.
They pass several vendors selling icons of various religious figures. There's an image that's clearly Sisko. He's dressed in a baseball uniform tossing a baseball in the air to a glowing hand that reaches out of a wormhole. A woman purchases one as they pass by.
They turn off the into an open air food market. Bourdain notices a vendor selling distinctively intricate twisted bread. "That's from Tellar. Not exactly traditional Bajoran food."
Narav says, "Bajoran food like the Bajoran people used to be highly segmented. Each district had a specific cuisine. Each caste had certain foods they were and weren't allowed to eat."
"And the Cardassians changed that?"
Narav's eyes crinkled with a smile. "When there's nothing to eat, you eat anything. When the warrior caste isn't enough, everyone fights." He shakes his head. "Or so I hear. I grew up in the Klliketh refugee scholarship and was fortunate enough to get a Vulcan scholarship. Most Bajorans weren't so lucky. But the camps also meant that many Bajorans left Bajor. When we came back, we brought recipes. New ingredients." Narav points to various stalls. "Vulcan root vegetables. Andorian Cured meat. Even," he picks up a small jar, "Ferengi honey, but," his eyes crinkle in a now familiar way, "it'll cost you."
Bourdain laughs along with Narav.
They turn down an alley and end up in front of a red door with a red sign that reads, "Fire of the Forge" in Federation Standard, Bajoran, and Vulcan.
"A Vulcan restaurant?"
"With a Bajoran spin."
They enter. The establishment is decorated in typical Vulcan spare style. They sit at a long low table with several other patrons. Narav sits easily in the seat with his back to the wall. Bourdain folding his long legs awkwardly into the pit in the ground under the table as the chairs are merely cushions. His back to the rest of the restaurant. Bourdain says, "I had the same problem on Vulcan."
"I like to think that it is another step in the logical progression of enjoying the food."
A waiter comes and brings bowls and plates.
Narav points to a platter. "Vulcan parva, but it's been made with Bajoran neva leaves, which changes the flavor a bit."
Bourdain eats a mouthful. Smiles. "It tastes like…"
"Summer. That's the point. Everything in this restaurant tastes like the current season and uses seasonable ingredients, but..." he points to a small deep fried animal, "unlike real Vulcan food, there's meat." Another laugh. "Beggars can't chose."
Bourdain tears off a leg and eats it.
BOURDAIN: And just so you know, it tasted like a summer's evening with a touch of a sea breeze.
Chapter 8: Sponsor Break
A deep gravelly voice says, "They say that every sunrise on Risa is perfect."
A shot of torrential rain. "Kronos isn't Risa." A Klingon scales a sheer rock cliff face while rain sleets down. He reaches a small ruined temple on a outcropping of the rock.
A cut to the Klingon's face. He says, "They say that the Klingons killed their gods. It's true."
The Klingon stands on the edge of the cliff and jumps. Sailing, plummeting through the air in a free fall that seems to go on forever. Moments before reaching the jagged ground, he activates an anti-grave field and lands in a three point landing with a dagger raised in the air.
The scene changes to a smokey tavern. The Klingon sits at a rough wooden table with a squirming plate of gagh in front of him. He takes a hearty bite. A deep swallow from his cup. Smacks his lips. "Kronos, for a glorious kind of holiday and a braver kind of traveler."
A different higher voice rapidly says, "Produced by the Klingon tourism board. The Federation State Department advises against any activities that could result in death or dismemberment."
The deeper voice adds, "As Shakespeare said in the original Klingon, first kill all the lawyers."
Bourdain and Narav walk along a river. There's lean-to buildings clustered along the shore. Children play and fish in the river.
Narav says, "This river was dead when I came home. We've made a lot of progress restoring the biome."
"Did you always think of this as home? You were born in a refugee camp. Went to school on Vulcan," says Bourdain questioningly.
"Bajor was always my home," is the simple reply.
Narav looks down into the water. "I wouldn't drink from it mind you. Dysentery isn't fun."
"Tell me about it," says Bourdain.
They walk further down the river.
They come to a brass statue of grain spilling out of boxes along the river. There are flowers scattered among them. "It's a memorial for those who died in the Great Famine. For the grain sent by the Federation that was left to rot in the warehouse that once stood here."
Bourdain looks around. The ground is flat cement. There's no trace of a building. "Where's the warehouse now."
Narav smiles. "The people of the city tore it down in a riot after the end of the occupation."
Narav pays a little Bajoran girl some money. She gives them flowers to throw into the river.
BOURDAIN: The flowers are non-edible. Bajorans don't throw away food.
They walk further. Away from the river. Into a dense old neighborhood with buildings that overhang each other.
They come to a square. In the center is a marble plinth with stairs on three sides and a long ramp. The surface of the marble is covered in graffiti. Teenage Bajorans do tricks with anti-grav boards on the stairs and ramps. As they approach, it becomes clear that there was once a statue on the plinth. All that remain are enormous brass boots above which the rest of the body has been sawed off.
"Why did you leave the boots?" asks Boudain.
"Look inside them."
Bourdain looks inside the boots and chuckles.
BOURDAIN: The boots are hollow and currently in use as a urinal.
Another few blocks has them passing buildings with burns from phaser fire. Pockmarks from projectile weapons. An empty lot in which a temple tower is under construction.
"I'm surprised that's still standing," says Bourdain.
"The Cardassians turned it into a place for…" Narav sighs. "They are gone now."
They turn another corner and Narav takes them down a small ally and through a small blue door.
"Grandma, we're here," Narav calls out.
"Good. Good. It's not thieves come to steal all that I own," says an old woman's voice.
"If it were, you'd feed them," says Narav.
"True. True," says the voice.
Narav leads Bourdain up a narrow staircase. The scene cuts to a small yellow kitchen. An old woman with tightly curled white hair and bright red scar spreading like tree roots over her cheeks and down her neck greets them. She holds a wooden spoon in an artificial left hand. She taps the spoon on the side of a large black pot on the small kitchen stove, which burns with a gas fed open flame. A tank of gas squats below it connected to the stove by a curling hose.
Narav kisses the woman's cheek. "Grandma, this Anthony Bourdain. Now remember, Terrans use the second name as their family name."
BOURDAIN: Now before you write in, I didn't want to correct a man in front of his Grandmother.
Ardel Meriveth stayed behind on Bajor with her oldest son when her youngest son, Ardel's father, fled Bajor with his family. Although, as you'll hear, that wasn't her only reason.
"Welcome, Ant-ony," says the old woman with a wave of her spoon. "You look big and strong, yes. Get water from the Waterman down the street." She hands him a bucket.
"Grandma!" says Ardel.
"I would feed the thieves, but I would make them work."
Bourdain looks at the metal bucket bemusedly. "Yes, Ma'am." The camera follows him down the stairs to a water truck at the end of the ally. He waits in a line to get water with the rest. All around him, Bajorans giggle at stare at him.
BOURDAIN: Now you may be thinking, how quaint. You may be thinking, that this must be a very old area of town. While it is true this area of Ashalla is full of some of the oldest buildings in the city, the Cardassians did not invade a pre-industrial society. This was a warp capable society with all the trimmings. The kitchen we were just in once had running water and electricity, but the pipes were capped and removed during the Cardassian Occupation.
And yes, that means what you think it means regarding sewage.
But I'll point out just how clean the streets were on our way to Grandma's house and leave it at that.
Bourdain returns with his bucket of water. In time to be escorted up to the roof where there is a small feast laid out on a tiled table. Around it gather Bajorans, whose family resemblance to Narav is clear. Meriveth sits at the head of the table. "Ant-ony, sit by me. I will show you how to eat."
"Grandma," protests one of the younger Bajorans. "This is Anthony Bourdain. He knows how to eat."
"I'd be honored," says Bourdain sitting next to the old woman.
She dishes out food from various plates and bowls onto Bourdain's plate. She points to a small burrito like object. "This is Hasperat. It is very spicy." She looks at him seriously. "Very. I will not tell you my families brine recipe, but..." she leans closer. "When you eat the Hasperat. Breath. Pray to the Prophets for mercy maybe." She laughs. "Eat groat cake with cava nuts. And this is very important." She taps the table with her metal fingers. "Do this before you eat the spiced Klemmen. Or pfttt… you will taste nothing. Do not eat the Klemmen first, or," she waggles her hand, "it will taste like *bleep*."
Bourdain does what she says.
The Hasperat has his eyes watering. He holds the flavor in his mouth for several seconds before eating the groat cake with Meriveth's approval and his expression eases. "I take it you didn't eat like this during the occupation."
She laughs. "No. Not like this."
Bourdain leans back in his chair. In the distance, horns beep and there's the clang of construction. Bourdain asks, "Do you see much activity by the Resistance during the Occupation?"
Meriveth tilts her head, "Of course. I was in it." She shrugs. "We all were. The lizards were here for fifty years. It was resist or die." She laughs and drinks from a steaming cup. "But they're gone and we're still here. Still standing." She looks down at her chair. "Sitting." Laughs even harder.
She reaches over and takes a piece of bread.
"It's how I lost my hand. How I got this." She taps the scar on her face. "Separate times. But it's a good trade. She reaches down the table to lay her right hand on Ardel's. "It was worth it to bring my family home."
"And if the Cardassians hadn't left."
She smiles. A genial friendly grandmother. "Then I would have kept fighting until they did."
Chapter 10: Sponsor Break
"Time. It's not infinite." Sand fall through an ornate hourglass. A distinguished looking Bolian sits behind a sturdy oak desk. "We at Jarndyce and Spawn are here to help you with your most difficult decisions. How to leave your most precious belongs." Images of battered toys, a worn stand up piano, a 3-D chess float across the screen. "Items embedded with the significance of a lifetime. Don't hold off preparing your holographic will."
A holographic figure appears next to the Bolian. "I made my will three years before my death, and it provided so much comfort to my loved ones to have some final moments with me. To hear from my own lips the significance of the items I was leaving them."
The Bolian says, "Also, there is an emotional closure option for loved ones to mute the hologram and have their say. You'll be dead. You won't care, but they will. Call Jarndyce and Spawn today. Don't delay."
BOURDAIN: One city and a space station cannot possibly encapsulate an entire planet.
The screen shifts between a forest where new trees are beginning to grow to a strip mined desert. From a burning river to a fountaining geyser whose water appears golden in the light.
BOURDAIN: An hour long program cannot encapsulate an entire people.
From a crowded marketplace full of people haggling over produce to a gleaming shop full of people in neat tunics pulling food out of replicator wall units. A monk pulls weeds in a garden. A Bajoran child holds up a small circle and blows through it. Soap bubbles expand and float away on a breeze. Bobbling by a square Cardassian building currently undergoing demolition.
BOURDAIN: But if you think about Bajor, think about this, after a fifty year Occupation, they're still laughing.
An image of Meriveth wiping away tears of laughter.
Bourdain: Whether it's the last laugh, I don't know. The Prophets may talk to Benjamin Sisko, but they didn't care to share with me. I kind of prefer it that way.
Ranjen Pavan examines fruit hanging from the limb of a young tree. She says, "I already know what the future holds. If I plant a seed, it grows. If I prune this tree this year, it may grow more fruit next year. Or neither may end up the way I expect, but," she shrugs, "I still do it. Isn't that what you do with your program? Plant seeds. Isn't that what we all do?"
A Bajoran child stands in a weathered courtyard holding two ropes, one in each hand. A Bajoran child holds the other ends. As they swing them, a third Bajoran child jumps over the rope. The sound of the children chanting a jumping song is faint in the background as the ropes goes round and round, and the child in the middle jumps in a complicated pattern of steps.
BOURDAIN: So you've seen what we had time and resources to capture. What we were lucky enough to see. What we edited and chose to show you.
Now what do you think when you hear the word Bajor?
How would you answer Pavan's question?
Fade to credits.
Next week on Parts Unknown, Anthony Bourdain will visit Asgard in the Gamma Quadrant. Shot of Bourdain lifting a stein the size of his head next to Thor.
*Since this would be from the first season of "A Cook's Tour", they wouldn't have access to the footage. But might have still images. Also, why Bourdain doesn't reference the show by name.