Day 108 - Monkey Forest and The Most Expensive Coffee

She missed the memo
July 24th, 2015

It's ridiculous that I've had to train myself to enjoy things like this trip. "Wherever you are, that's where you are" is the phrase I've been focusing on for the past year or so. It sounds stupid on the surface, sure. The way it was explained to me was this: if you're unhappy and constantly complain, it doesn't matter what your environment is. You just won a trip to your dream destination? A negative person will be a negative person in the end, though they may perk up a bit at the initial change. Hell, even I complained about that kid on the plane, though I mainly included it because I thought the phrasing was funny.

Monkeys in Action****
CLICK HERE to watch it
An example of the statues
Breakfast consisted of leftover candy and beer because I didn't want to carry it, and there was nothing else. First stop: Monkey Forest.

The forest was beautiful, ancient-looking rock statues and temples with little chimps everywhere. Shimou bought a couple bunches of small bananas to feed them. The monkeys mostly just played/fought with each other, sometimes stole items or food, and jumped on some of the tourists. I missed a photo op of the monkeys having sex, but one little guy decided to, uh, clean himself... in front of a crowd.... on a pedestal. It's a lot hotter and more humid here, as we slog around the forest from temple to temple.  Next up, Holy Water Temple!

Holy Water Fountains! (Guessing)
I get the feeling this will be like the time I went to France and saw too much art. Art, like any cultural stops, should be more like vitamins: just a little every day. Overdo them and your head might start to spin, you may feel a little sick, and you may just collapse. I chat a little with Nick as he drives us. They're mostly Hindu here, I learned, when inquiring about the flowers behind some of the men's ears. He tells me it's something they do after praying, and keep it in until the end of the work day for luck and safety. He's charging us 400,000 rupiah a day, about 40 AUD to be our guide and transport, which also depends on distance driven. He says working in a cafe would pay 50,000/day, and that an apartment/small house to rent would cost 1 million a month.

Bottom center: unprocessed Luwak Coffee (still poop)
Right: Processed Luwak Coffee
Left and Back Center: Male/Female, Unroasted Coffee Beans
The tasting Tables
The temple required us to cover up and wear traditional garb to enter. An old man helped me tie mine, asking where I was from, and explaining that the temple was to pay respects. I think. It's hard to tell sometimes with the accents because they say the vowels differently and F's become P's. The temple was said to be the nicest in ubud, though I'm a little templed out (at least 3 or 4 in monkey forest already). On the way out, I saw some intricate, wooden chessboard. I wanted the smallest one, but didn't want to pay $30 for it. I say no, she drops to $25, which I'm not feeling, so she asks for a counter offer. I offer 10, she sticks with $25. $20? no deal. Ok, then I'm not interested. She caves. Who doesn't enjoy a good barter? Here's hoping the treated wood is allowed in Australia, which some passing Aussies said was probably alright. The next stop, a highlight I was not expecting when I booked this trip, is...

The Tasting Platter
Luwak coffee! Again, a superbly scenic location where they showed us a Civet, cocoa trees, and coffee trees. They did everything by hand in the traditional way, frying the beans over a fire, grinding in a big stone mortar, and sifting by hand. We sat at a table overlooking a ravine, drinking from a big tray of samples, a Luwak coffee, and male (bean) coffee. The male bean, he said, was only 25% of the yield, and tasted unique from the female beans. Most *expensive coffee in the world, we got it at $5 a cup. This is the life.

Next up: lunch by the volcano. The restaurant was all you can eat, and on par with normal all you can eat in Canada; $18ish per person. The food was alright, but the view was what we were paying for. A large valley with two dormant volcanoes, ever ripe, and ready to blow**. Slowly, I'm learning more mandarin as we go, though my French is interfering at times. On occasion, I'll say something and they'll make a "what the hell" face. It's hard to say if I said it wrong, the words were wrong, or the grammar was wrong. Either way, I'm slowly getting more confident with it.

View from the restaurant of one of the Volcanos
Since I'm writing a lot while driving, the idea of motion sickness probably comes to mind. I'm generally fine, but have to stop if it's very bumpy or winding. Ever wonder why we have motion sickness? One theory I read was because of the effects of various poisonings. Your body isn't moving (so your brain thinks), but you feel like you are. This is like the spins from alcohol poisoning. Your body feels these symptoms and thinks "Oh shit, dump the stomach to get rid of any more poison." And then you have nausea. The same applies for sea sickness.

The Other Volcano, Ft Lovebirds Joy and Shimou
Onward to the spa. I've been looking forward to this for a long time. I have at least 15 knots in my back and would love to get some hardcore massage, though deep tissue isn't on the menu. Instead, we opt for this 2.5 hour treatment that is 70 USD. Yes, American, which I hadn't realized until after we had paid. Damn it, I was thinking in AUD! Well, might as well enjoy it. They provided us with some really nice tea, and these tiny underwear. It was Lee and me in the one room, Shimou and Joy in the other. Honestly, I was just there for a massage, so the whole lotions and oils part was nice, I guess, but not really my thing. Well, carpe diem, enjoy it while you're experiencing it.

Walking to our Spa Rooms
The Notorious Seafood Restaurant
It finished with an oil massage, leaving us super oiled up. The package said it included a hot bath, which we didn't realize was simply the somewhat-large tub at the back of the room. Lee and I huddled beside each other in the tub, taking turns with the removable showerhead to rise ourselves off while staying warm. I kept laughing because of how silly it must have looked - a big hairy white guy with a beard and a small, nearly hairless Asian guy.

We left with Nick on our way to Kembaran. So relaxed. So tired. I desperately struggled to stay awake on the ride. I don't know why I fought it. The lack of sleep is still affecting us from the flight here.

They knew all sorts of international tunes!
Dinner was at a seafood place, as my Chinese friends really wanted to get some. This place was impressive: table on the beach, planes in the distance, a live band, lobster, crab, oysters, and a nasty surprise. I'm not really a fan of seafood, so I'm mostly here for the ride and trying something new. I know seafood is supposed to be expensive, but their pricing is by kg. How many kg is a lobster? Or a King Shrimp? We were brought to the tanks to pick out our selections, then they were weighed in front of us. Now we know the weight, but the price list isn't in front of us. Uh 1.8kg? Yeah, sure.

Oh God
At the end of the meal, the seafood was gone and I was still hungry, trying to suck out whatever meat I could from the tenacious crustaceans. I'm convinced that there is no civilized way to eat seafood and would love to watch a video of Queen Elizabeth giving it a go. Back to the nasty surprise, how much did the bill come to? 4,387,000 rupiah. That's 438.70 AUD.  On the bright side, I still have that image of the Queen displaying vicious barbarism.

Fatigue returned in quickly after the meal as we drove to the villa. Nick said it was 1.5h away, though we made it in only 40 minutes. And that was with the wandering cows slowing us down. The villa was amazing, with 4 single beds and a massive (maybe bigger than) king. There were two beds on the roof, a pool, and you could see the ocean from up top. Having a pool within sight of the ocean is a strange concept.

Holding my Dinner
I was exhausted, we all were, but I told Lee I would teach him chess, and that's what we did. Chess until 2am, and he almost beat me at one point. A little more experience and he probably would have.

Black out

*It was good, but I don't know that I'd pay whatever they charge in North America to have it. Might just be charlatanism, the whole thing. 
** I was actually looking for an adventure time clip, but that one seemed good enough.
***Apologies if this is a little too photo-heavy
****Apparently the video doesn't play, despite the big play button

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