November 29, 2016
There are several aspects of our first few days in Bali that I want to document. Last time we traveled, Susie and I converted the blogs into several photo books. We plan to do the same this time around. As a result, there are a few items that we will want to have in the books that might not be as interesting to our readers. This is one of those blogs.
The Quirky Villa
The Ngeluwungan Villa was created in 2013 by a couple from Australia and the US who love Bali and want to make a difference. They pay their employees more, recycle and focus on creating a supportive community.
They also have a fun sense of decoration.
The have named their chickens and their birds.
We hope that these birds are doing better than their namesakes.
Star and Moon (the lead cooks) also danced for us - not many chefs can also perform traditional Balinese dances.
We also enjoyed Lucky the Dog.
Since many dogs in Myanmar and Bali are candidates for rabies, we have instructed our dog-loving children to avoid petting any pooches. When we learned that Lucky was vaccinated, the kids in general and Virginia in particular went crazy. They loved on Lucky so much that he would join us at our meals and the beach. He would even nose his way into our rooms when we were not paying attention.
“The Most Expensive Coffee in the World”
When I first saw an article about the “world’s most expensive coffee”, I pictured something gathered from scenic hills of Tuscany or perhaps Columbia by an elite team of discerning coffee specialists.
I was wrong.
It turns out that the most expensive coffee (Kopi Luwak) in the world is made the following way in Bali.
Coffee grows on the trees. As they ripen, the key component happens at night. The Asian palm civet (a catlike creature) comes through the plantation and eats the ripe coffee beans.
Sounds like a pest problem, rights?
Nope. Actually, the magic happens over the next several hours. The Asian palm civet then defecates the beans. Remember the “elite team of discerning coffee specialists? They exist, but rather than picking beans, they pick up poop.
The beans are then cleaned and processed like any other coffee bean.
Apparently, the civet’s digestive system alters the protein structure of the coffee to reduce bitterness and improve the flavor. We tried the coffee and it was good and quite strong.
To be honest, it was not $315/pound good, but who else do you know who has had coffee that pricey? [Note: our cups costs the same as a grande latte at Starbucks.]
Two additional notes. First, we have learned that many people are using inhumane techniques to feed the civets. We actually inspected the facilities that processed the coffee and know that they do not mistreat their animals.
Second, I started to briefly wonder about the post-civet collection process.
“Wow,” I said to the kids, “I bet that is not that pleasant”.
“Heck,” Wiley replied, “You are the one that is drinking it.”
The Sunsets Are Nice
OK, there is not a lot you can say about sunsets. So I want to include a few shots – enjoy!