Friday, May 9, 2014

Bali Eco Cycle Tour

While in Bali, I had the great pleasure of taking the Bali Eco Cycle Tour. It was recommended by a friend and it was an excellent recommendation. It showed the side of Bali I was looking for, the culture and the countryside. It was a full day tour that was balanced in a way that you never felt bored or rushed.
We were picked up in a van between 7:30 and 8:00 am. (I was picked up at a random supermarket that I was told was close to where I was staying, it wasn't and I got chased by a very scary dog on the way. I uttered a scream I didn't now I had in me, as it chased me up a hill on the outskirts of Ubud.)  By the end of pickups we had a group of 9 people, plus our guide Argus or Augus, I’m not really sure which one it actually was. We learned through the day that Argus was a funny man, a jokester. He was subtle about it and for a second you thought he was telling you a real fact about Balinese culture when in fact it was a joke. It made for a very entertaining day. As with all tours, the guide makes all the difference in the end.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

That time I drank "Poo" coffee in Bali.

Roasting the coffee by hand. 
When I was in Vietnam I started hearing about “poo coffee.” It is supposed to be a high end type of coffee that is essentially a non digested coffee bean that an animal eventually expels.  That’s right. The animal eats the beans, passes them, they are collected, cleaned many times, and then roasted by hand. I’m not kidding. It is nicknamed, poo coffee. There are a few different types of animals that are used for this purpose because the conditions in their body do not digest the actual bean. The digestive conditions are supposed to do something to treat the bean in a way that can’t happen anywhere else. Clearly I think this is a gimmick to charge more for coffee, but I decided to suspend my disbelief for a while.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Introverts Guide to the British Museum

The Great Court. 
I’ve visited London numerous times. Each time, I stay in a different neighborhood, which allows me to explore the city one corner at a time. This method is clearly flawed. It means you miss out on some of the other great things in the city if you focus on just one neighborhood. The only way this works is if you know you are going to be a regular visitor. I've made a lot more trips to London than I would have ever originally imagined. However, one big spot has always escaped me, The British Museum  This is rather odd since I used to have a minor obsession with the Rosetta Stone. Honestly, the first two trips I didn’t even know it was IN the British Museum, so, my bad.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Bhutan in Pictures

Tiger's Nest Monastery

To celebrate the one year anniversary of my trip to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan, I put together this set of photos. I get a lot of questions about Bhutan and someday I will write about it but I think the pictures say most of what I want to. It's a beautiful place stuck between the future and the past, hesitant to commit to either. It constantly finds itself in the in-between. While the King is young, Western educated and seemingly progressive, I think it will be many years before the prices come down and they let tourists wander on their own. Currently the government has a set price, for tourists, per day. You can check on the government tourism website to see the most up to date rates. When I went, the only option was to join a tour, I was not allowed to wander on my own.

Monday, April 21, 2014

The One

Torre del Oro -Tower of Gold, Sevilla, Spain

No, no, not that "the one." I know what you were thinking. I'm talking about the other "the one," the travel experience that irretrievably changed your life. Every traveler has one. I've never written about it on the blog so I figured it was high time. Mine was Spain at 16, which led to Spain at 21. Let's just call Spain my one.