|From Jamie's Philippines Pics|
We have also had the opportunity to travel to some amazing places in China, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Bali. We have archived all of our travels and living experiences abroad; and if you wish, you can read about our adventures by finding the archives on the right of this page and by checking our Photo Album.
We appreciate all of our family and friends who have stayed in touch and emailed us with encouraging words throughout the year. We hope you will continue to keep us in your thoughts as we continue our adventure of living abroad teaching at an international school. For those who have stumbled upon our site, check out the "About Eric and Jamie" section on the right for more information.
Thanks for checking us out!
- Mark Twain
- Maya Angelou
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Day Trip in Bali
Today, Jamie and I had one of those days we will never forget. I actually woke up and worked out again this morning running a couple of miles and working out; and then after breakfast, we met our guide (Wayan) and driver at the front our our resort for a full day touring Bali. I have decided to do this blog post a little different due to the nature of our day. Simply, if I was to tell you everything, I would write a small book. I'll summarize as best I can, but I encourage you to view the pictures I have linked as well as the album entitle Bali 2009 Day Trip 1 for a TON of pictures. I will list the village we visited followed by a brief description of what we saw there. You can see the links for you to click for the pictures.
Nusa Dua - I don't think we were out of the city yet before seeing the Barong Dance. The story comes from the Hindu text Mahabharata and I'll let you look up the story if you wish. We videoed quite a bit of it and I'll post some of those later. We videoed quite a bit throughout the day and it'll take a while to sort through all of it. The Barong Dance was very unusual, but overall was a great performance and very native.
Batubulan - we stopped here first and watch the local villagers make Stone Carvings. Pretty amazing and all done by hand. Three types of stone, some imported and some local. Most tourist do not buy any stone for obvious traveling and shipping reasons. A quick note, there are dozens of these types of stores for all of these products I'll mention. They are all basically the same.
Celuk - This village is famous for its Silver Products. Not too many pictures here, but the silver was amazing. We weren't in the market for any silver, so we just stopped to see the locals make it and then slid out.
Mas - Here, the locals make Wood Carvings. Jamie and I purchased a neat little wooden wind chimes here. We didn't take pictures inside the store, but the details were amazing. Some of the wood carvings were huge life size komodo dragons, Jesus, masks, and you name it, they carved it. Again, check out the pictures.
Kintamani - Here, we stopped for lunch to view Mt. Batur Volcano and Lake Batur. As you can see from the pictures, it is pretty amazing. The volcano has erupted 3 times and the latest was in 1962. You can see where the lava flowed down and missed some small hills and where vegetation is just now starting to grow again. On a side note. There is a village on the other side of Lake Batur (I can't remember the name), but it is famous for its dead bodies. The villagers do not bury or cremate their dead right away, but lay them out on the ground for several days. The most interesting thing about it is that the dead bodies won't smell. No one knows why. Apparently, CNN and some of other major networks have come to the village for reporting. I'll check into it or you can and let me know.
Kayuambau - This was probably our favorite place. Jamie and I were hesitant about going, but we'd never been to a coffee field before, so we were game. Wayan led us through a small section with various types of crops grown in this region that included some pretty wild fruits and other crops. See their Passion Fruit for example. By far and away, however, we tried some of the WORLD FAMOUS KOPI LUWAK COFFEE. If you do not know what kopi luwak coffee is, let wikipedia quickly explain it for you:
"Kopi Luwak (pronounced [ˈkopi ˈluwak]) or Civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus). The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested. This process takes place on the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi in the Indonesian Archipelago, in the Philippines (where the product is called Motit Coffee in the Cordillera, or Kape Alamid in Tagalog areas) and in East Timor (locally called kafé-laku). Vietnam has a similar type of coffee, called weasel coffee, which is made from coffee berries which have been regurgitated by local weasels. In actuality the "weasel" is just the local version of the Asian Palm Civet."
"Kopi is the Indonesian word for coffee, and luwak is a local name of the Asian Palm Civet. The raw, red coffee berries are part of its normal diet, along with insects, small mammals, small reptiles, eggs and nestlings of birds, and other fruit. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but it has been proposed that enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee's flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated, still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Some sources claim that the beans may be regurgitated instead of defecated"
"Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $100 and $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and the United States. It is increasingly becoming available elsewhere, though supplies are limited; only 1,000 pounds (450 kg) at most make it into the world market each year. One small cafe, the Heritage Tea Rooms, in the hills outside Townsville in Queensland, Australia, has Kopi Luwak coffee on the menu at A$50.00 (=US$33.00) per cup, selling approximately four cups a week, which has gained nationwide Australian press. In April 2008, the brasserie of Peter Jones department store in London's Sloane Square started selling a blend of Kopi Luwak peanut and Blue Mountain called Caffe Raro for £50 (=US$99.00) a cup. It has also recently become available at Selfridges, London, as part of their "Edible" range of exotic foods. It is also available in Toronto, Canada, at Coffeeholic: Handdrip Roastery in the upper Forest Hill village on Eglinton Avenue West."
Now, we didn't pay that much for a cup just so you know we are not that crazy. We did try their cocoa as well as ginger tea, ginseng coffee, as well as Bali coffee. I'm not a coffee drinker, but it was interesting nonetheless.
Tampak Siring - We visited Pura Tirta Empul (Temple of the Holy Water). This Hindu temple was built in the 10th century. As you can see from the pictures, Hindus come to pray and bath in the water as well as make offerings. The underground springs are inside the temple. There is a little information on the web concerning it. Our guide was very favorable to this temple, so we went. The worst part was walking back out for 5 minutes through a winding maze of stalls of the locals selling souvenirs ("only $1 mister").
Tegallalang - We visited the Rice Terraces here. It was a quick stop, but these are truly amazing. We'll see some other rice terraces in China this summer as well as the very famous ones in the Philippines this summer as well. These were truly amazing though.
Ubud - Ubud is an interesting town in the middle of Bali. A German in 1921 came to this village and began painting and teaching the locals how to paint. Another European came in the 1930s doing the same with other arts and crafts. Ubud has other historical significance, but the tourist can't miss the huge market where all sorts of items are sold. We only stayed in central Ubud for a few minutes before heading to our next stop down the road...
Ubud - Kecak and Fire Dance. Amazing! I had been hearing about the Kecak Dance for a while and really wanted to see it. Please read up on it and check out our numerous pictures. We also videoed quite a bit of it. As for the Fire Dance - WOW! The guy actually danced, sat, held, and ate burning coconut husks. Again, check out pictures and wait for the video.
That's all folks! We went back to Nusa Dua and ate a great meal at a local place and then headed back where I went straight to work typing up all of this for you and posterity. Great day! We have another day planned with Wayan tomorrow and I can't wait to see what is next!