On Saturday we checked out Kuta beach and some of the shops before returning to the hotel to enjoy the pool.
We are now staying at a villa in Lodtundah near Ubud. The villa is part of the T House sustainable tourism project. The land is leased from the locals and they are provided with employment with minimum impact on their way of life.
Our day in Lodtunduh kicks off early with the sound of roosters crowing and cows mooing. Light begins to stream in through our open air bedroom, defused slightly by the mosquito net. It is then time to take a shower which is is set in a small garden. Despite being in the open it is private, although we do occasionally share the bathroom with the odd snail or gecko.
We are then visited by Komang, one of the local girls who prepares us breakfast in our villa. We enjoy our breakfast outside overlooking more locals hard at work in the rice field.
Yesterday mostly consisted of eating. After breakfast we went to the Ubud palace and watched young boys and girls learn the Barong dance. Following this we looked at the art Market before heading to the famous Ibu Oka for Babi Guling. Perhaps the favourite dish of the Balinese, Babi Guling is a suckling pig stuffed with spices, it is then basted in coconut milk whilst roasted over an open fire.
We then looked around Ubud before finding a local driver Wayan who took us to the rice terraces. By this stage it was pouring with rain. After battling flooded streets and pot holes we arrived a a place known for it’s Kopi Luwak. It is often described as the most expensive and rarest coffees on earth, mostly due to the way in which is processed. It begins with the Civet, a type of Mongoose which feeds on coffee beans. The civet selects only the best red coffee beans to eat, the magic then begins in it’s digestive system. The coffee beans, which are eaten whole, react with the enzymes in the civets stomach before (for want of a better phrase) coming out the other end. The excreted beans are then collected, cleaned and dried in the sun before being roasted. To be honest, I did not find that it tasted much different to a regular Bali Coffee. The Balinese do have a great sense of humour, maybe it is just an elaborate joke? Regardless, it is all part of experiencing other places, cultures, traditions and flavours.
We returned to our villa to dry off from the rain. As if Komang’s breakfast, Babi Guling, Pisang Goreng & Kopi Luwak was not enough we decided to go to the Sunday night buffet at Cafe Wayan. The food was exceptional. Following this we went to the Havana Club for Marjorie to get her dose of Salsa music, an important part of any South Americans life. The local Balinese band memorised the words to the Latin songs phonetically, much to Marjories amusement. I watched some expat Aussie regulars dance with the Balinese staff, whilst I sipped on my large Bintang beer. What a melting pot of culture in one little bar!
I am now sitting outside, typing this post on my iPhone 4, having just finished another great breakfast that Komang prepared. Shortly our transport will arrive to take us to a spa for a full day of massage and relaxation.