I’ve decided that through our adventures in travel and living in China, Greg and I are living in a cross between the British travel show, Idiot Abroad and Anthony Bourdain’s television show, Parts Unknown. We love exploring parts unknown but often feel like idiots when exposed to other cultures and we realize how narrow our view of the rest of world has been all these years.
But here’s what we’ve learned. The world is huge. People are local. And local people are proud of their place in the world.
This last week we chose to spend the Chinese New Year holiday week in the relaxed setting of Bali, Indonesia. Beautiful, fantastic, peaceful setting and wonderful people filled with pride of all the island of Bali has to offer.
On our way to the hotel, the driver visited with us and suggested we take in 4 things while in Bali. See the temples, visit the active volcano, see the rice fields and try the kopi luwak coffee.
“Kopi luwak?” “is that the poop coffee?” I asked. I had seen it on Parts Unknown. Full of pride, the driver shared with us that yes it is, and it originated from Indonesia. He explained that the luwak is an animal that looks like a cross between a cat and a raccoon. That combination made my mind wander. I’ve heard the nighttime call of a cat who’s “on the prowl” and I’ve seen a raccoon in our backyard in Portland – I can only imagine what that mating scene must be like.
The driver gave us his card and offered to take us out for a day, so like idiots, Greg and I set out to parts unknown and a day of sight seeing around the island of Bali.
We visited the Pura Puseh Hindu temple built in the 11th century. Please note item #3 on the photo of the visitor information posted outside the temple.
We drove up into the mountains for a view of Mount Batur, an active volcano that last erupted in 2000. The sight was surrounded by local vendors selling fresh fruits, jewelry and clothing items.
On the drive down the mountain we stopped to see the rice fields all of which had Hindu shrines in place to ensure a good harvest.
Our final stop was at a coffee house that overlooked the natural rain forest. This coffee house offered a tasting, much like a beer or wine tasting and of course the grand finale was a “fresh” cup of kopi luwak coffee.
A guide met us at the entrance and walked us through the tropical setting explaining to us the process of the Kopi Luwak cup of coffee. The luwak animal, chooses the best of the coffee beans to eat but does not chew. It digest the bean whole and after it ferments for the right amount of time in the digestive system, the luwak “expels” the product for the farmer to gather, wash and roast to make a delicious cup of coffee.
So there you have it. Two idiots abroad, discovering parts unknown and saying “cheers” to you Bali for proving to the world, you actually can polish a turd and proudly serve it up as a cup of coffee.