On first impression you may think the artistic and cultural capital of Bali is small. You could easily be mistaken into believing the town consists of just a few intersecting streets full of shops and restaurants. While there is some truth in this, Ubud has grown over the years as it keeps pace with its international reputation.
Culture, tradition, art, music, and dance have all remained in tact . Ubud is a town of royalty and even its dialect is a version of Balinese that commands respect in the highest order.
Being captivated by all the activity that is the towns center is part of the experience. You could spend days wandering the streets and lanes of Monkey Forest, Hanoman, Raya, and Bisma.
To do so you would certainly be kept busy, well fed, and entertained.
By setting horizons a little further out what you will find is a quieter, more stunning, more impressive Ubud. The kind of Bali we all imagine before setting out from familiar shores. Continue reading Trekking and Eating in Ubud
With islands that ooze culture, mystery, intrigue from every volcanic pore it is not at all surprising that these same qualities exist in every living thing that resides here.
Coffee from anywhere is steeped in history and most certainly a candidate for a debate on intrigue.
I have to admit that up until recently I had remained blissfully unaware of this particular, extremely special brew and its slow roast method of production. Only produced in Java, Sumatra, Sulawesi, and Bali, Kopi Luwak has gained worldwide fame and is currently one of the most expensive coffees on the market.
It sells for between US$100 and $600 per pound. Even more expensive than Starbucks.
Its history is closely related to the Dutch Coffee Industry but it is purely an Indonesian product born out of ingenuity and necessity; the latter being the Mother of Invention. In the early 18th century Dutch businessmen established cash-crop plantations on Java and Sumatra and this included coffee. Exporting some of these crops back to Europe reaped a hefty 1000% return of investment for these merchants; the raping of the colonialized territory of the East Indies was of little concern. Continue reading Coffee From A Most Unusual Place
I had mentioned in a previous post that one of our trips for this year was to be to the Deep South. Taking in the states of Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and Louisiana with the intention of staying off main highways; seeing where the route takes us.
The only plan; indulge in BBQ, Blues, and Bayous.
Since arriving at this plan we have scoured San Francisco for restaurants where we could whet the appetite and satiate a growing desire for southern bugs; with all the fixin’s of course.
Every Cajun or New Orleanian establishment found we hurtled ourselves through the door in complete and utter anticipation. The expectation being that a full bucket of freshly boiled crawfish would be delivered and spread out across the table for a finger lickin good time. Continue reading Crawfish in the Sierra Nevada
Being on a budget does not mean depriving yourself of a luxury here and there. It’s fine to eat fried rice with chicken every night when you are traveling alone but when company you enjoy comes along why not splurge and enhance the travel experience through food. I had good friends in Siem Reap and that’s exactly what we intended to do.
Cambodia has a rich, albeit checkered, French colonial history. We assumed their would be an abundance of this cuisine available all throughout town.
Baguette stands were everywhere why not Fois Gras?
Our first exploration into the culinary delights of Siem Reap met with disaster in the form of gristle. The Indochine, a French restaurant recommended to us turned out to offer only French Fries as its claim to the motherland. Continue reading Chasing French
The trip to the coastal town of Cirebon, famous for its distinctive masks and batiks, takes about four hours and winds through some of the most stunning scenery in Java.
Rice fields terrace down the sides of mountains, palm trees and fruit stands dot the roadside, rivers meander through valleys, and tea plantations along with reminders of their heritage, cover every hill along the way.
The result is a road trip that takes you from traffic laden Bandung to rural Java and on to the laid back, border-line sleepy town of Cirebon.
I say sleepy in a good way.
After the chaos of Jakarta, Cirebon is virtually snoring…but at the same time it’s refreshing, relaxing, and peaceful.
The absence of taxis took me a bit by surprise when first arriving but I quickly figured out that getting around is easy. Public transportation comes in many forms Continue reading The Prides of Cirebon