With our confidence growing in our abilities on the scooter we wanted to take a longer trip. We looked at the map, chose a road and off we went! Bali is such an incredible visual feast; we blasted through the appetizer, lingered over the main course and ended our day with a sweet dessert! Can you tell we're also being spoiled with tasty food ... the next meal is never far from our minds! Ubud itself is very busy and we looked forward to getting out of town. Our appetizer began with the outskirts of Ubud, artisan workshops lining the street - this is the place to come to furnish a home. Beautiful works of art as practical pieces of furniture. But still dodging heavy traffic we whizzed on by.
After about an hour it was time for a butt break - we're still getting used to sitting on a motorbike for long periods at a time. Spotting a little restaurant we pulled off and walked down a few stairs. The rice terrace view opened up before us and we were completely enthralled. Pinch me, are we really here? We enjoyed a relaxing drink and then decided to see a little more on foot.
With every step we took the view just got better and better. There were a few craft stalls selling colourful blankets, quilts and sarongs, amongst many other things.
The lush green rice terraces of Ceking -
A short while later we spied the perfect table for lunch -
- that cost less than US$10 but the view was priceless!
This friendly worker kindly posed for a photo -
Back on the scooter and further inland we went. The temperature dropped as we gained in altitude but it was still very pleasant. We passed through several small little towns and came across this Hindu wedding ceremony about to begin. Not only were we invited to watch the ceremony, we were also invited to join in the celebrations taking place over the next two days!
The actual ceremony took place outside the temple and on the main road through town.
It started to rain soon thereafter.
And at the end of the ceremony it stopped raining. Good blessings on the marriage?
Onward and upward ... I whispered in Dennis's ear, "Oh, that place looks interesting - it has free testing coffee"! (I'm quoting verbatim.) It was a coffee plantation whose specialty is Luwak coffee, considered by some to be the finest coffee in the world! We were assigned a personal guide to give us a tour that ended in a tasting. The luwak is a small nocturnal animal, like a civet or possibly a possum. It eats the arabica coffee beans but doesn't digest them; hence they come out whole on the other end. These droppings are collected and processed, the arabica beans now containing additional enzymes that alter the taste of the coffee, making it smoother and richer. We would have to say we agree!
This gorgeous flower, growing everywhere on the plantation is from the ginger plant. The Balinese use the stem of the plant, rather than the root, for flavouring their food and teas.
Heading home -
Note on current exchange rate: US$1.00 is about Indonesian Rupiah IDR12,160 is about ZAR10.60