Yesterday Brian and I signed up to do an all day “eco bike tour” here in Bali. We were picked up from our homestay early in the AM, and our tour guide Win was boisterous and friendly. We were in a group with 6 Dutch folks and a couple who live in Spain that were Romanian and French. We first drove for about 45 minutes to the Northern part of the island where we stopped along the way at this amazing rice paddy terrace.
We then drove to a hotel overlooking Lake Danau Batur and the volcano Guneng Agung ate a delicious breakfast of banana and chocolate pancakes, tropical fruit and fried rice.
Next we went to a short eco tour of a local coffee plantation. We saw the coffee beans growing on the trees,
how they are sorted and harvested,
and then roasted for flavor.
There is a wild coffee here called Luwak that is the most expensive in the world that is created when an animal such as a civet ingests the coffee bean growing in the wild and then digests the bean with the enzymes in its stomach as well as the enzymes from the fruit it eats. It then poops out the coffee bean whole and this bean is harvested to make the coffee! Two shells are pealed from the outside of this poop bean and then it is roasted like regular coffee. The taste is supposed to be incredible smooth and a delicious flavor and at about $20 a cup I hope it tastes good!
Next, onto our bike tour where we rode mountain bikes down a long and winding BEAUTIFUL road through villages, rice paddies and temples.
We stopped at a large compound of a poor family to learn more about the family life of the Balinese. We learned some fascinating things! For example, if a wife is not able to produce a child, a man can marry another wife and they all live happily together and the child from the second wife becomes the child of the first as well. Also, the first son is the only child allowed to move out of the family compound whereas the last son is always stuck forever taking care of the elders in the family and the temples on the property.
We also stopped at this ancient huge Banyan tree for a rest. Banyan trees planted outside temples or other holy places are considered holy trees, and their leaves are used in cremation ceremonies, etc.
This bike tour was one of our favorite experiences so far on this trip. Flying down a verdant hill on a bike with the wind in our hair, Balinese music in the breeze, children running beside us saying hi and wanting to give us high fives, and the smiles and waves from all of the people we passed was uplifting and so joyful. Bali is a beautiful country indeed.