See for yourself how liberating it is to wander, explore and get lost in your surrounding in someplace new.
~ Travel Well ~
While traipsing around Bali last year during my “Bali Birthday” adventure one of our outings led us on a journey to a farm that produced the Kopi luwak.. This coffee gained notoriety after being featured in The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2003 and the myth of its all-natural origins was propagated in a Jack Nicholson–Morgan Freeman scene in the 2007 film The Bucket List.
Kopi luwak (“coffee” in Indonesian, “luwak” from the islands of Sumatra, Java and Sulawesi, which are part of the Indonesian Archepelago’s 13,677 islands (only 6,000 of which are inhabited), or civet coffee, can sell for $75 per quarter pound. But it’s not strictly the exotic location that makes these beans worth their weight in silver. It’s how they’re “processed.”
Kopi luwak or civet coffee, refers to the seeds of coffee berries once they have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) in Sumatra. Palm civets feed on berries and pulpy fruits such as figs and palms. They also eat small vertebrates, insects, ripe fruits and seeds. On farms, civets are either caged or allowed to roam within defined boundaries.
(I was a little scared to get too close to it hence the far away (terribly displaced) photo of it.)
As folklore has it, kopi luwak in Indonesian, was discovered by plantation workers in colonized Indonesia. Forbidden from consuming coffee beans picked from the plants, they picked up, cleaned and then roasted the beans excreted by wild Asian palm civets that entered the plantations to eat the ripest coffee cherries. The civets’ digestive systems gave kopi luwak a uniquely rich aroma and smooth, rounded flavor — so much so that the Dutch plantation owners soon became die-hard fans.
(Awww look at us….it was quite humid out that day and I didn’t feel all that great – the day AFTER my birthday no less.)
What started as, presumably, a way for the natives to get coffee without climbing the trees has since evolved into the world’s priciest specialty coffee.
Honestly I can’t even take credit for this experience as it was the desire of my friend in the pic with me above who had this as a must-see during our Bali adventure!!! I’m glad we did though.
~ Travel Well ~
It’s Sunday, January 5th and our journey to Bali began with the flight from LAX to the Asian hub in Taipei, Taiwan…a mere 10+ hour flight followed by the 6 hour flight to Bali from Taipei! This would be the first of about 7 flights for me during this journey for my 40th birthday.
The Arrival – Day 1 (January 7th)
As Bali is 16 hours ahead of LAX (our departure location), we left on Sunday and arrived on Tuesday, January 7th local time. First, was the shock as we emerged from a long line in customs to what felt like 900 smoldering degrees outside. There were a sea of drivers with cards of names in which I was trying my best to search through for my own name. I was slightly overwhelmed to say the least but eventually found the driver with my name. After telling the 2 drivers that it would just be us vs the 6+ that were anticipated, we piled into the air conditioned vehicle ready to start our adventure.
First thing we noticed were all the scooters, motorbikes on the road not to mention the driving being totally opposite of that in the Western world. Our driver – Gusti took us to a little restaurant enroute to our villa which was our first intro to Bali.
So when I first started planning and even before I chose Bali, I knew that I wanted to rent a villa just to add to this once in a lifetime experience and intro to 40. Let me say, this villa did NOT disappoint! It was just what I envisioned and then some. It would have been the perfect accommodation for the larger group that originally planned to partake in this journey. It was a 3000+ sq ft 3 bedroom, 4 bathroom, living room, kitchen, private pool villa in South Kuta, Bali (Indonesia). The pictures really don’t do it justice as you would probably think it’s the entire property but really it’s an individual villa (#104 was our Villa #), spacious and uber private.
Before the trip I came across the spa packages, all of which were to DIE for which included a 6-day Body Purification that was the equivalent to the cost of 1 spa treatment here in the US. Of course I had to snag that for us as my way of saying thanks….and it was pure HEAVEN each and every day. By the 3rd day though it was just too much so we opted not to do our 2 sessions that day as we were (believe it or not) “massaged-out” lol! Did I tell you the showers were outside? It was the most liberating thing EVER….once I got past the idea of bugs and snakes trying to snack on my nekkedness lol!
In and around Bali
So I left the schedule kinda open to ensure I didn’t wear myself out which I tend to do alot when I travel, however I did have a few things in mind that I either wanted to do or see to include both a temple or 2 and riding the elephants – both of which we were able to accomplish. The first couple days were more or less just exploring and figuring things out. The only constant was probably our appetite and my cocktail intake which after all it was a Sssselebration lol! We were ready to eat even before we finished the meal we were eating which made us crack up each and every time. Because the language was totally foreign to us, we also found comedy in randomly calling out food when someone spoke in their native tongue…..then again we were always talking bout, looking for, ordering, and partaking in food. Indonesian food put you in mind of Thai cuisines, lots of rices and spices. The local beer and alcohol was “Bintang” and “Arak” respectfully however I traveled with my own favorite – “Ciroc” peach and regular lol!
Transportation was interesting and thankfully the villa provided a driver which was really convenient for us not to mention he was soooo friendly and cool! Given the 200+ million people in Indonesia and 4 + million in Bali alone, it’s no wonder that the major transportation method was scooters/motorbikes and they were EVERYWHERE! I believe I died every time we went somewhere because these bikes were all over the road with babies, 2 and 3 people on one, helmets no helmets, dodging in between cars etc. I just had to close my eyes a few times while saying “I’m bout to die” which of course didn’t happen lol!
My BIRTHDAY!!!!!! January 9th came in and brought with it a lil present by way of a lil cold but I was NOT going to allow a little bit of a cold to in any wreck my special day. On this day, I went to the Bali Zoo and did an elephant adventure; we went to see Uluwatu Temple – Kecak Dance which was pretty spectacular; finally ending with my Jimbaran Bay Seafood Birthday dinner on the beach. Lucky for me, with the 12 hour difference I was able to not only celebrate my milestone birthday in a major way but to recognize it TWICE – Bali time and 12 hours later U.S ET.
All in all I’d say we did what we wanted, played tourist, relaxed, ate, turned up a little, and over all had a fantastic time.