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Irene's Adventures

Bali - Amed & Lovina

INDONESIA | Monday, 7 February 2011 | Views [3468]

AMED

We took a taxi to Amed (3 hours away for $30). We had an excellent driver who spoke really good English and turned out to be a tour guide for us, as well.

Firstly, he asked us if we had ever heard of Luwak coffee – made famous by the movie “The Bucket List”. We were going right by a Luwak coffee 'farm' and would we like to stop. Sure! We walked through a small garden of various spices, coffees and cocoas, so one could see the actual plants. We saw a little Luwak cat, which looks like a cross between a weasel and a house cat with buggy eyes. These little guys eat red or dark coffee beans from the trees then as the bean passes though his digestive system, it ferments, which changes the bean somehow. The resulting roasted bean has a very strong but smooth taste, and very delicious. Yes, we tried it and yes, we bought some to bring home and no, we are not giving away free samples (not at $250 / lb Indonesian price!!)

 

Indonesia is famous for its beautiful tiered rice fields. Our taxi driver stopped at a beautiful resort restaurant for us to have lunch. The view was breathtaking! I know that term is sometimes overused, but we literally gasped when we rounded the corner of the restaurant and saw this scene. The photo does not do it justice.

 

We arrived in the sleepy little village of Amed in the pouring rain. Unfortunately it rained for the two days that we stayed. Irene got to dive a ship wreck (the US cargo ship 'Liberty' at Tulamben).

Amed has an interesting history. In 1963 there was a huge Balinese festival / ceremony that only comes around once every 100 years. Now remember that the Balinese traditions and customs are no small matter to these people. Where one can go to the ancient ruins in Mexico and only wonder at what kind of ceremonies were held there, here in Bali the temples are still in use every day, complete with traditional dress and ceremonies. As it happened, there was some dispute as to the proper timing of this celebration and during the height of the festival, Mount Agung blew its top sending huge flaming boulders and red hot lava as far Amed, a good 15 km away! Thousands of people were killed. It literally rained fiery boulders, which are still evident sticking out of the grass and between trees. What we thought was a river was actually a lava flow, about 100 meters wide and 20-30 meters deep. There are still those who claim the timing of the celebration was all wrong and thereby angered the gods, causing the volcano to erupt. It took 10 years for the people to begin resettling the Amed area. Today, it is a sleepy fishing village that seems to have embraced tourism more than fishing. The beach is black sand (lava) and the shore is rather steep into the water making it a not-so-pleasant walk. There is some awesome snorkeling, however, hence the tourist trade.

LOVINA

Because of the rain and poor beach, we decided to move west to Lovina, another 3 hours along the northern coast of Bali. We found a great little bungalow near the beach. While having a welcome mixed fruit juice with the hosts, we decided to take advantage of their driver and tour a bit of the area. We went to Gitgit to see a terrific waterfall. We had to hike down about one kilometre to see it but it was truly beautiful. Unfortunately Irene left the SD card in the computer and there are no photos :( After a quick return to the guesthouse to retrieve the SD card we went to a Buddhist monastery. It was a quiet little monastery and we saw schedules for Vipassana courses posted to the entrance of several buildings which made us smile in anticipated thought of sitting here in Bali rather than freezing at the same course in Sylvan Lake.

 

From there we went to some hot springs. I know it sounds bizarre to go to hot springs in 39C weather, but it was so beautiful. We walked through a gauntlet of vendors (even the waterfalls had a gauntlet of vendors) over a little bridge, along a stone path through the jungle and to the springs. They are amazing!

 

There are 3 pools. All have lions heads with warm water pouring our of their mouths into the pools. The medium pool has the water come directly from the mountain and is the warmest, 36C. One can stand under the lion's mouth and have the water gently caress over your head and shoulders. It drains into the larger pool that is comparable in size to Banff hot springs. The smallest pool was off to the side of the large pool. It also has water coming directly from the mountain, however it falls from spouts about 3 meters above. One can stand under these high spouts and have a fantastic water massage as it pounds over your shoulders, back and head. All this is nestled in the jungle and surrounded with beautiful flowering bushes, all all for the price of 5000rp. Fantastic!

The next day, Irene did a a couple of dives on the farthest north-west island of Menjangan. Diving is experiencing a different world on our own planet. This dive was amazing in that there is a shear drop off about 20 meters off shore. The corals were abundant and very colourful with the corresponding fish that cohabit ate around and within them. Our 3 minute ascending stop was at a ridge covered with soft coral. There were millions (no exaggeration) of goldfish size fishes in every colour of the rainbow alternately rising out of the coral in an explosion of colour only to descend back into the coral as though the coral had sucked them back in. There were hundreds of soft coral with thousands of fish all exploding out and then disappearing back. It looked like a magical fish choreography, danced out to an inaudible orchestra. It was absolutely mesmerizing.

The rain situation was nearly as bad as Amed. It would start to pour about 2:00 pm and would last into the night. It was apparent that the north of Bali was not the place for a relaxing holiday so we shared a taxi back to Ubud with a couple of Aussies who were also tired of the rain. We made one stop at a little village in the spice region of Bali. We perused a local market and stocked up on some fresh spices, but as it was still raining, none of us felt like wandering around too long.

Return to Ubud next.....

 

Places to stay:

 

Amed Galang Gangin    250000

Sunrise               150000

 

Lovina Sartaya        150000

 

places to eat in Lovina Warung Jungle good food / price / spicy

 

 

 

 

 

 

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