“White” water rafting, Kopi Luwak and wrapping up Bali

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So wordpress is starting to piss me off and keeps posting blank blogs for me.  Anyways, we were looking to go white water rafting because we have heard many great thins about it.  Though we heard the price was $70 each, we were determined to find a better price.  Sure enough we found one for $30.  I spoke with a local who I have on Facebook and he found us another deal for slightly cheaper price but included showers, water and lunch.  Sweet deal.

Once fitted in our gear, we made our way down approximately 300 stairs to the river.  We were in a boat with four 19-20 year old British girls which sounds awesome, until you realize that you’re supposed to be the muscle on this boat.  Our guide was a short but built guy, with tattoos up and down his arms and his shaved head, he looked like he belonged in a Muay Thai ring, not our boat.  However, once we got to the boat, he turned into this funny, bubbly guy that was just looking to show us all a fun time.  He gave us a quick safety talk with simple instructions.  Forward. Back. Stop. and Jiggle (in case we got stuck on a rock).  Lastly, he told us that if we fall in the water to not panic, turn on to our back and put our feet up in front of us.

I put the word “white” in quotations because the water is pretty calm.  I couple fun parts but nothing extreme.  We knew about this in advance because friends had told us and on the brochure it says “safe for ages 7-75”.  This was a good thing because the girls that were with us didn’t seem to want to do much paddling as it interupted talking and picture time.  No big deal though, we all had fun.

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Our guide kept things entertaining by yelling “whoa” whenever we went on a “rapid” and would slap the water randomly with his paddle and say “oh crocodile” or “anaconda”.  When the water was calm he encouraged us to jump in to swim and float down the river… which was really low. We even stopped at a small waterfall and our guide encouraged us to enjoy a massage underneath it.

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We cruised down the river covering about 10k in 2 hours or so.  Which is way less time than I have spent on this blog.  As we got towards the end, we jumped back into the water and floated down to our finish point.  A fun and relaxing coast down the river with some great scenery and corny jokes.  What more could we ask for in the day?

We had to hike up about 100 stairs and walk half a block down the road to get to our lunch spot.  This was easy for us once we realized that there were old ladies deflating these big boats, folding them up and carrying them on their heads up the stairs.  Made me look like a wimp. I was expecting a picnic lunch in a park or near the river bank and could not have been more wrong.  We were greeted by people escorting us to our change of clothes and giving us big soft towels before showing us to hot showers.  After showering, we head into the restaurant for a big buffet lunch.  Fried rice and noodle, a build your own salad station, chicken, steamed vegetables, fresh fruit and thick cut potato wedge french fries.  What a fantastic value considering we only paid 35% of what the pamphlet says you should pay.  Toekad Rafting is the company we went through and were awesome.  I highly recommend them and they offer solo runs where you get your own dingy and kayak paddle.  If I were to do this again, that is the way I would go.

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When we got back to our hotel, we asked the owners where we could try Kopi Luwak?  The husband said he would take us so we said okay.  The son came and talked to us and said the price would be 70k IDR… That seems like a lot to take us to a coffee shop to try this.  We decided we weren’t going to argue and just go.  One of the best decisions we made since we came to Bali.

He drove us 30 minutes or so south of town and took us right to a plantation where they give us a free tour.  Our guide was a gorgeous Balinese girl who we should have taken pictures of.  She showed us chilis, different coffee beans, tucans, giant fruit bats and the infamous Luwak or Asian Palm Civet that we never thought we would see.  Even better, they had a baby that we got to hold and take pictures with!

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So the Luwak eats the coffee beans where they ferment in its stomach.  The luwak then poops out the beans in what looks like peanut clusters.

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Now, someone got the idea that these beans need to be cleaned, de-shelled and cleaned again.  Then the beans are thrown into a wok like pot and cooked on the fire until they have a black coffee bean look.  At this particular location, the beans are then given to a 200 year old woman who grounds them up using a rock bowl and a club.

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Then the coffee is packaged and sold to the consumer who pays as much as $700USD for 1 kg of cat poo coffee.  I’m not sure why people think the luwak is a cat, it’s more like a racoon or a badger, imo. Anyways, that is the process for making the worlds most expensive coffee.  At this point, I just really want to try it.  We get to a table and they have set up a bunch of free samples for us.  All except for the Luwak.  It was 50k IDR for a cup, which we said we would share one.  Afterall, we did have 7 other samples to try:  Ginger Coffee, Hot chocolate, Bali coffee, and Ginseng coffee.  Then we also had Lemon tea, ginger tea and lemongrass tea.

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We were able to watch the coffee brew right in front of us while we enjoyed all of our samples.  They even gave us a couple deep fried banana fritters to enjoy everything with.  Then came the moment of truth.  Our coffee was brewed.  I never thought that I would be so excited to try poo.  So how did it taste? It was smooth.  No real bitterness but still a strong taste.  It really was quite decen, especially compared alongside Bali coffee that tastes like water that has had dirty feet soaking in it for a week.

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To be honest, when you compare the price to what your getting, you’re really just paying for the novelty.  I truly miss my McDonalds coffee to be honest.  At the end of the tour, we went to the gift shop and purchased a small bag of Ginseng coffee.  Overall it was a great experience and something we would have never experienced on our own without the guidance of the owners at Suastika Lodge.

Bali (and Lombok) as a whole was nothin short of fantastic to us.  We had to let our budget go a little loose to enjoy ourselves but it was well worth it and we’ll make up for it somewhere else.  The landscape is beautiful, food is delicious and the people are very friendly and want you to feel safe and welcome.  Kristi and I both agree that our favorite place was Ubud.  Laid back and still full of culture, Ubud is a gem with a good balance between tourist and local.  Even if it has massive spiders that are bigger than my hand

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Don’t worry, the olden orb spider is not dangerous, just big and creepy.  I hate spiders so much. Unfortunately, our last night in Bali was not a good one.  We got a hotel close to the airport and had intentions of seeing Tanah Lot temple before leaving.  Sadly, we had food poisoning.  To make matters of being uncomfortable worse, we had a room right outside of the lobby and everything echoed through our room.  At one point we could hear what sounded like people yelling right outside our room, I though maybe it was breakfast time, it wasn’t. It was 3:13am.

Maybe it would have been better if we were on a different floor.  Either way we are not letting that night be a stamp on our trip to Indonesia.  We actually hope to come back in a few months so that we can do some of the things we missed out on like Lembongan Island and Komodo Island.  Hopefully I’ll have my Open Water by then and can do some diving too.

We are excited for our next adventure as we arrived in Kuala Lumpur on the 25th.  There’s so much to see and do… but we’ve been issued 90 day visas.  Who knows what we will get up to! Good Bye Bali, we miss you already.

 

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