The last of our time in Indonesia
11.02.2013 - 17.02.2013 34 °C
Hi everyone! First of all I want to say thank you to everyone who is still reading the blog after our 3 1/2 week hiatus before writing again. It truly is hard to find the time and a fast enough connection to complete these entries, so thanks for being patient with us we appreciate all of you who follow. So backtracking to about two weeks ago we enjoyed our last few days on that little gem of an island Gilli Trawangan, by relaxing on the beach taking bike rides and on our last day there, we went out on a snorkelling trip with our Slovenian friends that stopped at 4 or 5 different locations around all three of the Gilli Islands. We saw beautiful blue coral, sea turtles and a Japanese ship wreck which was really cool, but I couldn't stop thinking about that scene in The Little Mermaid where Ariel and Flounder are exploring that shipwreck and a giant shark comes out and tries to eat them haha but we made it out safe and sound
After saying goodbye to all of our friends we hopped on the fast boat and headed back to central Bali to a village called Ubud. It is known as the cultural centre of Bali and to us seemed like one giant village but in fact it is 14 villages each run by their own village committee. The whole area has endless shops full of arts and crafts, woodcarvings and stonework. We checked into a homestay and our room was like our own little temple amongst the rest of the family living there. We had breakfast and coffee delivered to our balcony every morning all for about $15 CAD a night.
Heres a few photos of the statues that are exclusive to Bali and some of the woodcarvings I mentioned earlier. Ubud is also known for their rice fields and terraces which cover almost every spare inch of land in the entire area. We went to a few really nice restaurants as we were starting to get a little tired of eating street food and our expensive dishes were setting us back about $6 CAD per dish! All of the nice restaurants have incredible views of the surrounding valleys and terraces, the pictures of course don't do it justice but I'm sure if we had views like this in Canada they would be charging at least $200 a plate.
How about that scooter? Not afraid to load those little things up! haha
One of the highlights of our trip to Ubud was taking in a traditional Balinese dance called Kecak. It is a trance like ritual where a male choir chants the soundtrack to a depiction of a battle between a Prince that is saved by a monkey, and an evil King. The owner of our homestay was one of the men in the chorus and he said afterwards they dance up to 6 times a week! It was haunting and exciting and we loved every minute of it! It was really interesting to see the Balinese masks that you see in all the stores put to use in a dance. The women dancers are so beautiful and move so gracefully its hard to take your eyes off of them, and the little girls that danced reminded me of butterflies with the way they fluttered across the stage. Again the pictures wont do it justice but we have lots of great video to show everyone when we get home too.
Before we left Ubud another thing we wanted to do was check out a coffee plantation, Indonesia produces some of the worlds best coffee and we heard that these trips were the highlight of many other peoples time in Ubud. So we rented a scooter and headed out to a plantation about 15 kms north of Ubud. We were both surprised that there was much more to the plantation than just coffee, we seen all kinds of plants, cocoa trees (which are the big green pods), ginseng plants, cloves, pineapple plants, lemongrass, lime trees, cinnamon trees, banana plants, snake skin fruit trees almosst anything you could imagine, and many kinds of spices. I would love to be able to grow the variety of plants they can here!
But the above all those things the most interesting thing to see at these plantations is how the famous 'Luwak Coffee' is made. The Luwak is an animal that kind of looks like a cat and is exclusive to Indonesia. The Luwak eats the red coffee berries (below) for the fleshy casing that surrounds the coffee beans and yup you guessed it, craps out turds full of coffee beans! These turds are then collected, cleaned, roasted and grinded to make arguably one of the best tasting coffees in the world! It retails in New York City for around $500 CAD per cup! Producers of the coffee claim that the process improves the taste of the coffee because the Luwak will only select the best berries to eat, and that the digestive process also improves the taste of the final product. So of course at the end of our plantation tour we had to try it! It was a good strong coffee that finished really nice. Would I pay $500 for one cup? Definitely not, but we did pick some up before we left and its currently on its way to Canada for all you other brave coffee drinkers that would like to share it with us! At the end of the tour the owners set out a whole row of samples to try, we had Ginseng coffee, Strawberry coffee, ginger tea and many others all in all it was a fantastic experience!
We spent our last evening in Bali at another beautiful restaurant overlooking a gorgeous sunset and rice field before heading back to the airport to fly to Singapore so we could catch our flight to Sri Lanka to spend the week with our friend Cam from home. The next post will be a fantastic one you won't want to miss, I should be able to get it done today as we are spending another day in the Singapore airport waiting for our flight to Thailand tonight