Ayu Beach Inn, Kuta, Bali

Bali is awesome.. had a wonderful day… went on a day trip on a personal car, at an amazing price and a stroke of good luck.. Had an extremely talkative and friendly guide-cum-assistant-cum driver, Bapl (Pronounced Bapal).. here is a quick bio of the guy.. he is 53 years old, Hindu , his family lives in north Indonesia and he visits them once in every 3 months.. calls home once in a fortnight since their family doesn’t have a cellphone there and incoming charges are high… he dropped out of school when he was 13 years old when his father died and he had to support his mother and the educational costs were extremely high in Indonesia for him to continue studying.. he has a son and a daughter and they are on the verge of dropping out of school thanks to the increasing educational costs.. which is a reason why he wont be voting for the current president in the next election which is due in 18 months… he used to work as a bus driver before but he was fired because he was getting old and his eyesight wasn’t good enough…he used to drive from Bali to Jakarta which takes about 24 hours.. he joined this travel company and usually sleeps on the office floor at night.. he gets paid only when there is a tour.. no tour no pay… he likes lambuk coffee but cant afford it because of the cost…it is apparently the most expensive coffee in the world…he likes trekking!

The first stop of the trip was elephant cave… very boring!

The second stop was Archaeological museum which was closed..

The third stop was Gurung Kawi temple.. it had a good “panorama” but thats about it..

The fourth stop was Tirta Empul Temple..or the temple of purification.. again, looked kinda nice.. but thats about it..

Needless to say, I wasn’t having a good time.. the places were not really what I was looking for.. Bapl kept buzzing in my ear with the history of the temples.. Zis wasss beelt in blah-blah year by blah blah person… I was tuning him out mostly.. He kept asking me to take more pictures of the places.. It was getting annoying.. on the way he would ask me about India..

The fifth stop was Kintamani.. it was almost lunch time, and I was very hungry… by this time, I had given up on the day.. but man! when we reached the viewpoint, whoooaaa .. Batur Lake and Kintamani looks great..too bad I didn’t have a better camera…

The buffet lunch was also amazing… had a lot of food… and things started looking up from then on.. We stopped on a coffee farm which was not on the tour plan.. we learned how the most expensive coffee in the world, Lumbuk coffee is made… I am no coffee expert but this is what I understood.. There is this animal called Lumbuk, which looks like a racoon… and it eats only the best coffee beans… then it poops… then, the Indonesian coffee makers search through the poop and take out these half digested coffee beans.. then they clean it… roast it… grind it.. and then they sell it for a very high price.. 60 grams of it costs Rp. 250000.. thats like INR 2000…

Then we went to the rice fields of Ubud… which was nice.. Then we stopped at an artefact store.. and then when we were driving back to Kuta, Bapl stopped on the highway to pee… he didn’t wash his hands… I acted normal because I didn’t want to embarrass him but when he dropped me off at a cafe near my hotel, I didn’t shake his hand…I waved good bye.. He is a nice guy though…he didn’t try to ask me for tips.. or didn’t force me to buy anything on which he might get a commission.. he didn’t ask me to hurry up..and he always opened the car door for me.. he was pretty cool ! Should have washed his hand though..

In the evening, I went out to the Kuta market.. it was nice and festive since it was Saturday evening.. there was music and people, mostly on magic mushrooms I suspect, were dancing.. good food was on offer too.. Also, found the Bombsite memorial.. it is pretty huge… don’t know how I missed that yesterday..My Bad!

Have booked a shuttle bus ticket to Ubud tomorrow.. going to stay there for a night or so..

Selamat Jalan for now!