Tag Archives: Kuta

Luwak, Rice Terraces, Hot Springs and Waterfalls

The next day I went with a driver to do some sight seeing. We did a coffee tasting north of Bali. There I tasted Coconut coffee, Vanilla coffee, Ginsen coffee, Balinese coffee and also some teas like Lemongrass tea, Ginger tea, Tumarec tea, Mangosteen tea. The Ginger tea tasted like Surinam “Gember Bier”, but then warm. I tasted some Rosela  and some real chocolate cacao without sugar as well. And believe me, whithout sugar it has nothing to do with the chocolate milk as we know it hahaha. All of the substances were good for some part or organ of your body. One type of coffee was good for the heart another type of tea was good for the stool, yet again another one was good for the blood circulation etc. I guess I am a very healthy man now. Lol! But… the main character of the coffee tasting show, was… the Luwak coffee. The Luwak, a cat-like creature, selects the best berries to eat, in his stomach enzymes seep into the beans, it then poops out the beans and they make coffee out of that. Luwak coffee, unlike the Balinese coffee has low caffeine, but still Balinese coffee tastes like water after you drank the Luwak coffee.

We visited Bedugul where we went to the Pura Ulundanu Beratan Temple. The Tree scandia (Balinese singing) on the background gave it a special feel. I noticed that all of the temples in Bali have a splitting gate. Like the entrance is made out of one piece of stone carving, which was then horizontally split in half to create an entrance. I asked the driver about this. He explained me that it has a symbolic meaning. When you pass the splitting gate, you also have to split your personality in the good and bad side. And leave your bad side behind. Many entrances to buildings have this type of gate and even each village has one. Wow! Impressive!

We went to Munduk a place you visit only for the view, but did I say only!? I fel in love with the view. Green hills and rice terraces. We drove past clove and mango trees on the way and each view is more beautiful than the other. I will definitely come back to this one.

After that me and the driver were getting a bit hungry and wanted some Satay. According to my driver the Goat satay was the best. Kambing as they call it. We didn’t managed to find a place were they sold it, but because we were close to the Banjar Hotsprings I decided to first plunge in to the natural Banjar hotspring and look for the satay afterwards! It was nice! I saw this one in travel programs a lot. Funny to actually be there now. After that we continued our search for satay. The driver told me to look for smoke. As we were driving up and down hill through villages, we focused for any signs of smoke alongside the road. At this point we both had one common goal: Satay! Haha. Finally I saw some smoke. Satay! Unfortunately we had to settle for chicken Satay, but it was no punishment, actually it was really good. The only thing I noticed is that the satays here have tiny little meat on them. So even after ten satays a was left still a bit hungry.

Next stop, the Git Git waterfalls. The driver informed me that there was a guide at that place who would bring you to the waterfall, but you had to negotiate the price with him. I asked him what was like reasonable. He said 100.000 is too much. As soon as I put my foot on the ground I was approached. This guide offered to show me all the three waterfalls for only 150.000 each. So this means 450.000!? And wasn’t there only one waterfall? Wow, this guy was really insulting my intelligence Hahaha. After some firm negotiation he offered to show me two waterfalls for 100.000. Then I figured that I came to see the one big waterfall and you can’t even swim in the other one. I finally said I’d do one for 50.000. He said 80.000 for one, which was still far from reasonable, but to cut him some slack and to contribute to the village I went for 70.000. When he walked me to the waterfall he smiled. “It was a good choice to only do the one waterfall”, he said. “The others are small and not even really nice.” Like really!? Can you believe this guy!? Hahaha. The waterfall was amazing though. I jumped of the rock in to the 5 meter deep pond beneath the waterfall. Went swinging on a rope to release it at its peak and fall in the water. Lol! Crazy, childish, but fun!

Later on, we saw another smoke surrounded stand. Satay! And this time it was the Kambing satay! Jeej! ;-) The driver waited around the corner and I went alone to order the satay. We were in a remote village and the stand was run by a few teenagers. Probably the children of the owner. They were really surprised when I ordered, and giggled the whole time. They didn’t understand a word of what I was saying, found my accent funny, but understood that I wanted 20 satays. They showed me the price on a calculator, giggling again. And then when I left, one of the boys said in a bit nervous, but clear manner: “Thankuu ferry mutsj!” and the others chuckled loudly. Proud at their brother that he just spoke English with a falang! Hahah. Funny! And the driver was right, it was really nice! But to be honest, I like the chicken more. Hahaha. We stopped at one of the rice terraces along the road. The driver had explained me all about the rice terraces, how they needed large sums of water at the beginning when they are still young, how the water dries up later. He also explained what the flags were for, which you see on all the rice terraces. The flags were all connected to a system of threads. Sometimes a flock of birds or a swarm of insects attack the rice terraces. When this happens, the farmers pull the main thread so all the flags start moving, thus scaring the birds or insects away. Pretty genius! And because he had promised me to show me how the rice really looks like when it is growing, he stopped here. We took a stem and he showed me the rice inside the sheaths and explained me how they use machinery these days to extract the rice. In the past, they used to smack the stems against the ground manually, to get the rice out. And finally he told me about the Arak which is an illegally, local brewed ricewine.

On our way back, I played some relaxed Jazz music, while I was content fatigue, I saw a few kites in the air, the sun was setting while we drove alongside rice fields and other beautiful landscapes and I was thinking about my trip thus far. It has been more than I could ever dream of. If you asked me what I would have liked to add to it, or what it lacked I couldn’t name anything. The perfect ingredients. I felt really thankful!

We arrived near the hotel. I went to eat at my favourite restaurant with the slowly wabbling lampions. I tasted pisang goreng (fried banana), which I know from back home, but with grated cheese. Strange combination, but really nice! At the restaurant I also tried their famous black bean rice pudding, which is also lovely. Hmmm, my mouth starts to water again as I am writing this.

After diner I went to a traditional Kecak Fire and Trance Dance performance in Pura Taman Sari, performed by the group Sandhi Suara. The performance was held in an open air temple by night. I didn’t understand a word, but still I could follow the story a bit. At least I knew who the villain was. Haha. At the end they burned a pile of coal until it was glowing. Then a man with a stick horse circled around the pile of coal, supported by load singing. He then suddenly kicks the pile fiercely in to the audience, making blocks of coal just come to a stop a few centimeters in front of my foot. Of course I was on the front row and of course I was wearing short pants and slippers. Hahaha. They scraped the still glowing blocks of coal together until the pile flamed again and turned in to a glowing heap. Then the man with the stick horse repeated his kicking again. They did this like five times and each time the audience anxiously waited not to get burned. One time a female in the front row had to jump up however, otherwise she would surely got burned I think! Like wow!! #noregulations I still loved the show though! Amazing experience!

Back to Kuta. I planned on going back to the great Hotel I stayed in before. The owner told me just to call him one day in advance and he would make sure I had a room. No need for Booking.com So I did. Done deal! Only the morning I left for Kuta I saw I had a txt message from him saying, he forgot to check the availability and that there was no room and at thousands of sorries. What!? So I got of the bus, arrived in Kuta, the bus left and there I was with my backpack and daypack and no place to stay. I quickly arranged a new hotel, which was ok. I stayed in Kuta for two more nights and then it was time to head for… Singapore!!

Sambutan Kanggo Kuta, Bali

My trip from India to Indonesia did not go without its setbacks. I developed a habit of not printing out my flight tickets. I only write down the flight number and Ho(s)tel address on a piece of paper. This worked for me pretty well, so far. I booked two separate flights. One from Kochi to Kuala Lumpur and the other one from Kuala Lumpur to Bali. However when I arrived at Kuala Lumpur, at the immigration desk they asked me some of the usual questions to see if I was not going to do any funny stuff in their country. “Are you here for business or holiday sir?” “Holiday” “How many days are you going to stay” “Eh, this is a transit, I have a next flight in a few hours” “Can I see the ticket for your next flight?” “Euh, I have this piece of paper with the flight number, but I still have to print it out…” and boom, I was crowned a suspicious person, within these couple of seconds. Hahaha. They were somewhat sceptic about my story. I had to go to a small office to get a stamp. There I explained my story and they sent me to another desk. After being sent from pillar to post for almost an hour I finally got the girls at one of the desks to print my ticket. Pfffieeuw! I was off, but I will be back though.

Like I told before every country has it’s energy and when I arrived in Bali, Indonesia it felt like a sweet welcome embrace. The sun was shining fiercely and the mixed smell of incense, burning compost and delicious food caressed my nostrils. I loved the smell! The streets were decorated with penjors, tall, curved bamboo poles decorated with coconut leaves with an offering at the base. This was because of the Galungan celebrations which are held every six months. The penjors symbolize the battle between good and evil, which is won by good of course. Also every day people put offerings, called Canang Sari’s in front of their doors. Nicely small tray made out of young coconut leaves and decorated with colorful orange and pink flowers. There were many stores with a lot of Absolut Vodka bottles displayed, but later I found out that actually these bottles contained petroleum for your scooter. I was already thinking why this vodka had a brownish color Hahaha.

The taxi took me to Kuta. The overly touristic party district of Bali. Sun, sea, beaches and banging dance music pumping out of the speakers. I would spend my weekend here and then head over to the more authentic and culture rich Ubud to see the “Real” Bali.

The first thing I did when I arrived at the hotel is go for the local food! I ended up in this back alley market and ordered a Bakmie Goreng (Balinese Stir Fired Noodles). The waitress asked me if I wanted it not so spicey, a bit spicy or spicy. I said: “A lot of spicy, I like spicy!!” You can play this joke in the Netherlands, but saying that here in Bali is like signing your death certificate. She smiled and after a few minutes brought me my order. I took the first bite and immediately I chocked, my lips burned, my throat was full of fire, tears coming out of my eyes and sweat dripping down my head. Clearly aware of my struggle the waitress asked from the behind counter: “Too spicy sir?” I refused to give in, so I answered with all the little bit of voice I had still left in me: “No, I like it like this! Spicy..” I took the challenge and ate the whole plate. Hahaha.

I noticed that the portions they serve here are relatively small, sometimes leaving you still a bit hungry after dinner. Also the food is not steaming hot when served, but rather lukewarm. And I really had to get used to eating with a spoon and fork, instead of a knife and fork. However with rice on the menu it was pretty practical.  You also really stand out here. There are hardly any other black people on Bali.

Legion street was where it all happened. This was the main street of Kuta. It also houses all the clubs. Sky Garden, with it’s three story building being one of the most famous. As an extension of Kuta you have the Seminyak area. A neighbourhood with also a lot going on. At one time I was in one of the clubs at Legion street and saw a little man in the corner with a whole entourage of people, looking and acting like Mr. Chow from the Hangover movie. He was jumping on the couches, slapping people on the buttocks and just going berzerk. I got in a conversation with him and found out he was the owner of the place. Shortly after that he pushed the mic in my hand to mc. I hosted the party for a few minutes hyping the crowd. It was fun!! Hahaha

Kuta was fun, but it has nothing to do with Bali. So I went for Ubud. On my last day in Kuta I decided to go for some crab, which I haven’t eaten for years, but when I walked out of the hotel alley on to the main street two people on a scooter crashed in to a row of scooters just two meters left from me. I was like really!!?? Luckily no one got hurt, but it looked like an action flick. I only had to dive to make the scene more powerful Hahaha The crab was ok, even though it had barely any meat on it. It had some nostalgic feel about it. Hahaha