Thursday, July 31, 2014

Bali Poo, Bikes and Art Day 8-9.9

The island's cultural center is Ubud. So that’s where we’re headed next, but not before the hotel called in a doctor for Greg’s burn. They bandaged him up and we were on our way.

Transporting kite by bike
Kites for sale
It’s kite season and kites are everywhere. There’s even a Bali Kite Festival with competing teams of ten or more.

So I can poop on you!
We stop at a house of coffee and experience ‘Luwak’ coffee, called the most expensive coffee in the world. The coffee is made by having a little cat/weasel like animal, the palm civet eat the coffee berry and (seriously) defecate it. Then it’s collected, cleaned, roasted and brewed. By sending the bean thru the animals digestive track it adds enzymes and amino acids and has medicinal properties. They call it ‘the good shit.’
Greg's not buying this 'shit.'
There are also other amazing coffees and teas they make. Coconut coffee, Bali coffee, ginger coffee, ginseng coffee, mangosteen tea, tumeric tea, saffron tea… We get to taste test them all. Yes, I loved the coconut coffee, the ginger coffee was delicious but the ginger tea was better.  The expensive ‘Luwak” coffee?
Honestly, to me it taste like shit.

Art is everywhere in Ubud. Galleries, Batik factories, wood carvers. It’s a visual feast! (If this was video, a musical montage of art would happen now.)

Wood carvers

making batik

The next morning I go on a bike tour. Greg is now shedding/peeling and doesn’t want to risk it so he takes a different tour. The tour guide, Wayon, picks me up at the hotel in a van with my other bikers. Most are from Australia or New Zealand. One woman and her family are living in Timor, another from Uruguay. All are very nice and friendly. Our first stop is breakfast in the mountains near Mount Batur Volcano. Wonderful breakfast, including coconut black rice pudding. Taste like heaven.

No this wasnt the bike I used.
This is the bike I get 
Wayon our bike guide
After breakfast we drive to pick up our bikes. These bikes are not the newest but at least I have 3 (questionable) speeds.  Wayon takes us on a tour of Bali culture. We visit traditional Bali homes. In Bali babies can’t touch the ground for their first 3 months and the mother can’t do any work for those 3 months. I like this. Teens’ canine teeth are filed down. Oh, now I understand why everyone has perfectly straight & even front teeth.
Kids driving scooters
As we ride, motor bikes driven by little kids, pass us by. Wayon tells us you only have to be 10 to drive on in the smaller areas but 16 in the city.  I swear I saw six year old kids zooming past us.
We did 25km in 36c heat (15mi & 98F) mostly down hill. There was an optional 9km (5.5mi) uphill and I tried, but started getting terribly dehydrated. Coconut water please.

After the bike tour we head back to Seminyak and meet up with Ema for a last drink at Coup D’Etat another fabulous club on the ocean. Then we end with a meal at the Carribean restaurant ‘The Island.”

Good bye Bali, you were everything and more…
with Gooday 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Burn Baby Burn – Bali Day 7.7

Turns out that 4 hour nap on the beach wasn’t as perfect as we thought. Greg, it seems, is burned to a crisp. He has a reverse farmer’s burn because he did put on some sunscreen before he took off his shirt. This Equator Sun ain’t no punk, “Oh, you think you can lay out here with no sunscreen? Well I got something for ya. Bam! How you like me now?”  
It is really hot here—when I go out the second day the sand was burning hot, but then there’s the beautiful ocean. Ahh swoon again…

We have an emergency here, we need to find aloe for this fire.
No pure aloe in sight but we do find something for sunburns that contains aloe. It seems to work and we are off to yet another lovely lunch.

After lunch we decide to drive out to the Balinese sea temple Pura Luhur Uluwatu to see the beautiful view and the Balinese dancers sunset performance. During the forty or so minute drive, Kennedy is warning us about the monkeys there. He tells us not to wear glasses or earrings or anything that dangles because the monkeys swoop down and snatch things. And no, they don’t give them back. They break them or runaway with them.

I’m tripping out, what about my purse, my sunglasses, my necklace? Muriel assures me that it’s not as bad as Kennedy makes it seem, but do put the glasses away.

When we get there they give us sashes and if your knees aren’t covered, sarongs. We walk in and sure enough, there they are. Monkeys! Chunky monkeys everywhere. They’re just chilling and waiting for you to make a mistake.  Nothing swinging on me, not even my arms! We see twisted discarded glass frames all around us. Hey lady, watch your… too late, a monkey gets her glasses. Somehow the monkey is persuaded to drop the glasses in exchange for food.

We are now going up to the temple and the beautiful view. It is breath taking, as is the dance show. Sunset in Bali, watching a great dance performance with a spectacular view as background. It couldn’t get any better than this… 

Oh but it does.

After the show we go to Menegas Restaurant in Jimbaran Bay for fresh ocean seafood. Before I go any farther, I want to be sure you pronounce the name right. It’s meh-nay-gas, not mi-nig-az. I know, it’s easy to mispronounce words in a foreign language.  At Menegas the fish is fresh and swimming around happily, that is until you (executioner) pick the ones you want. “Dead fish swimming.”
Pick your fish & it's cooked fresh 

OBTW- This is the spot of the 2005 terrorist bombing in Bali, maybe we should get ours to go? What are we on, the terrorist tour? Planes, restaurants.  

Lots of smoking fish

Fresh cooked corn on beach
Oh well, you only live once and--we have a table right on the ocean! There's live music on the beach, hundreds of other people, and a man selling hot spicy corn on the cob that he cooks right there for you. Yummy. We walk back to our table and the fish starts coming out—mussels, crab, cod fish, shrimp, octopus…. Everybody digs in.  

 This is by far the best fish dinner I’ve ever had! I was so delighted by the food that I almost called them mi-nig-az!