Indonesia Part 1: A Taste of Bali

I am embarrassingly far behind on blogs, so forgive me if my account of our trip to Indonesia is abbreviated and more photographic than textual.

This Christmas, Jeff and I were lucky enough to have a visitor from home. Jamie, Jeff’s sister, came to travel around Indonesia with us. To say we were excited would be an understatement.

We had a couple days after Jamie’s arrival and before our departure for Indonesia to show her around Subic, so we made sure to hit all the major highlights: giant fruit bats, mountainous margaritas, sunset drinks at the beach, and a Filipino food smorgasbord. Jamie was game for everything we threw at her, so I knew she’d make a perfect travel companion.

Our flight out of Manila left VERY early in the morning, so we took off for the airport in the middle of the night. Jamie caught up on jet lagged sleep on the way, and we all checked in bleary-eyed but excited.

We landed in Bali around 8 or 9 in the morning and set about finding a taxi to take us to Ubud for our two-night stay before we would fly on to Java for the first major leg of our trip.

Ubud is a smaller “hippie” city in central Bali, known for great food, a chill vibe, and an artistic scene. It is surrounded by rice paddies and jungle.

Our first day was spent relaxing and walking around a bit.

Our bike tour was a lot of fun. We started at a coffee plantation where the process luwak coffee, which is made from coffee beans that have been digested by the palm civet, a catlike creature. In essence, this is “poop” coffee, though the beans are still in their shells when the animal eats them. After, the excrement is collected, beans shelled and roasted, and some of the most expensive coffee in the world is produced.

After seeing this process (I declined to taste the coffee, not because I was disgusted, but because I didn’t want to part with $40 for a cup of coffee), we headed out on our bikes to see the landscape and visit a local village. The ride was mostly downhill, but we did battle up a couple of steep inclines towards the end. That, mixed with the heat, zapped my energy pretty quickly, but the ride was definitely worth it.

The traditional Balinese dancing was very interesting to watch, but I had no idea what the story line was. The dancers used exaggerated facial expressions and intricate hand, finger, and foot movements which all had special meanings within the dance’s storyline. I was impressed by their skill, even though I couldn’t follow any sort of plot.

After our short stay in Bali, we hopped on a plan to Java, where we had plenty of excursions planned. The first taste of Bali had us all looking forward to ending our trip right where it had started.