|View from our villa outside of Ubud|
More monkey pictures on FLICKR:
After the monkeys, we headed off for a long drive up towards Penelokan and Mt Batur. Must have driven past at least 153 (ok, we lost count) wood carving and other art shops (we even saw newly carved "thunderbird" totem poles -- Balinese? Hmmmm, was there a land bridge between Bali and British Columbia before the last ice age?) Nearing the crater rim, we had to do a quick U-turn because we were warned of (and could see up ahead) a police roadcheck. Bali police are notorious for handing out on-the-spot "fines" -- gee, no receipt -- to locals and tourists, even when nothing illegal committed; see: http://www.travelforum.org/bali-lombok/police.html
|Asian Palm Civet|
For those who don't know, kopi luwak (or poo poo coffee) is made from the beans that civet cats (luwak, in Bahasa Indonesia) have passed through their digestive system (that's right, they eat the tasty coffee fruit and shit out the undigestable coffee bean). Thus, coffee poo poo, the most expensive coffee in the world. Fashionable thanks to the movie "The Bucket List" (which we've never seen) . http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kopi_Luwak
Hard lesson #1: we paid a lot for 250 gm (>$50), even after bargaining, only later to find it in a local store for 1/3rd the price we paid!
The civets are taken from the wild and have to endure horrific conditions. They fight to stay together but they are separated and have to bear a very poor diet in very small cages. There is a high mortality rate and for some species of civet, there's a real conservation risk. It's spiralling out of control. But there's not much public awareness of how it's actually made. People need to be aware that tens of thousands of civets are being kept in these conditions. It would put people off their coffee if they knew. http://m.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/19/civet-coffee-abuse-campaigners
(unless you know for certain it is from beans collected in the wild)
On a lighter note. . . . We are now in Thailand.
Oh yes, the regular coffee in Bali ("kopi Bali") is great, cheap, and NOT made from luwak shit.