Turn the Right Corner

My first day in Ubud had a rough morning. The club only fifty metres away from my accommodations was blasting incessant dance music until late, when my jetlag kicked in and I was wide awake at 2am. I began to plan and number crunch and I discovered that my four month long trip may have to be significantly reduced so I don’t end up stranded in a foreign country without money.image

On that slightly downer note, the sun finally rose above the horizon and the roosters began to crow when I emerged from my room onto the small balcony that housed my breakfast table. I had been provided with a bottle of hot water for tea. At 7am I wandered downstairs and asked for breakfast, they soon brought me a plate with toast and scrambled eggs along side a small plate of bananas, papaya, and pineapple. I ate eagerly as I had nothing to eat since my in-flight meal roughly nine hours prior. I spent the morning writing and sipping tea in the hot sun, which soon became far too hot for my liking.

imageI ventured out with my camel pack in search of water to fill it. I found a near by corner store and bought three litres of water, which I poured into my pack on the street corner. The locals eyed me suspiciously as I pour bottles of water into my backpack.

I then bought a map and tucked it into my pack as back up. I began down one street and just walked and walked. I watched where other tourist went and followed a rather obscure trail, seeing nothing in particular.
A local man greeted me in the street and asked where I was from. I told him I was from Canada and he asked if I had seen the rice terraces.image I hadn’t and he offered to show them to me. I thought, “Wow, what a nice guy showing me where to see them.” Turns out I had just hired myself a walking guide without realizing it. But, I don’t regret the mistake one bit. His name was I Nyoman and he was a very sweet man. A glance into the rice terraces ended up to be a two and a half hour trek through the rice terraces, jungle, a visit to the Ayung River, a stop at a 900 year old banyang tree, and a trip into Bongkasa village where we visited the local hand-processing coffee, tea, and chocolate plantation.image

The rice terraces were like nothing I’d ever seen. As we walked through them, my sandals seemed like the worst choice. I ended up all muddy and my new sandals were well broken in by the end of our trek. My fimageeet didn’t survive as well. I Nyoman told me that each stalk of rice needs to be planted by hand and then pulled by hand. Seeing the thousands upon thousands of rice stalks I came to appreciate the rice I ate later in the day.
The jungle walk was amazing. I saw plants and creatures I normally would never have seen, as well as views that I could never have seen on my own. The walk was really more of a hike and I was so grateful for my camel pack, I would have been utterly dehydrated without it.image

We then came to the 900 year old banyang tree. It was incredible and I couldn’t capture it with a single photo or any photo for that matter.image

Finally we ended up in Bongkasa at the coffee, tea, and chocolate plantation. A tiny little place where Seeta greeted us and showed us around the garden. I got to see how the world’s most expensive coffee was made, digested by the Luwak before it was collected and de-shelled one bean at a time. imageThen she sat us down and I got to taste all their teas and coffees for free, along with a plate of milk, vanilla, and orange chocolate. I didn’t taste the coffees because I’m allergic, but the teas were amazing.image

I Nyoman then asked if I’d like to walk back to Ubud or taxi. I was filthy and sweaty and needed a shower, I opted for the taxi. imageI think his “taxi” was actually just his sister and her car. I ended up paying him 500,000 rupiahs or $50 for the trek, but it was worth it. I got to experience some amazing views, which I would not have seen without I Nyoman.

All this and my day was only half over.



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