On The Road

Occasional ramblings from a rambling journalist

Breakfast at a volcano

What a way to start the day – eating breakfast in the shadow of Bali’s most active volcano, overlooking Lake Batur.  Ten friends plus tour guides set off early this morning to take in the breathtaking view, followed by a 13 mile cycle ride through paddy fields, Balinese villages and coffee plantations. 

As with many places I’ve visited, it seemed that the women were doing most of the hard work, pictured here weeding the rice fields.  I did however catch a glimpse of one man working hard… supervising!   Rice of course is the staple diet, as it is throughout Indonesia, and since they’ve gone almost completely to GM rice production they get three crops a year.  Sounds good until they mention that they now also need to rely increasingly on chemicals to sustain the yield.  Alarm bells anyone?

Passing through the villages we were invited to go into one courtyard, home to two families.  Laid out in traditional style, with the ancestral shrine in the northerly most part of the yard, it is clear that the Balinese have a very strong sense of community and are deeply religious, with festivals and

ceremonies to mark major milestones.  One such milestone is the toothfiling ceremony, which is conducted by the high priest.  During the ceremony, which  takes place at puberty, the child has six teeth filed down as a symbol of fighting what they describe as their six major enemies: lust, greed, anger, confusion, drunkenness and jealousy.  To ward of other evils some families have a ‘blocking shrine’ which stands at the entrance of the property which they believe will ward off evil spirits.

A great day out for anyone with a sturdy behind and strongly recommended to anyone visiting the island – just ask for the ‘sunrise volcano tour’.

Back into meetings tomorrow.  Today has provided a fabulous backdrop into tomorrow’s discussions on transformational development and training.

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  • Poo coffee – good but costly


    I’ve always wanted to try it – the world’s most expensive coffee at $100 a pound and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet. Known locally as Luwak, today was my chance as we embarked on a cycle ride to Penelokan, the crater rim of an active Volcano known as Batur.  It was good, but to be honest I wouldn’t pay for a bag of it, although I only had ‘female coffee’.  As the sign suggests you’ve really got to go for the ‘male coffee’ – it’s better, they say (and more expensive).  For some strange reason the enzyme in the male civet’s digestive tract reacts differently with the coffee bean and when it has been passed it doesn’t split into two as it does with in the female poo.  The wonder of creation!   What puzzles me though is who first decided that they’d like to try the taste of civet droppings – I wonder what inspired them? 

    Sorting out boy and girl coffee

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  • Today we were working at Heartline, a small community radio station serving the community of Tulikup on Bali, the second most populated island in the Republic of Indonesia.  The station is having a positive impact on the health and social needs of the community with its effective communication strategy for health and social development.  


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  • Indonesia’s Hindu Island

    I arrived a short time ago in Bali, a picturesque island in the Indonesian archipelago, where, in a predominantly Muslim country, 93% here practice Hinduism.  Driving from the airport in Den Pasar, we came across many statues, like this one, demonstrating that Balinese Hinduism is deeply interwoven with art and ritual.  Our driver however is a Hindu follower of Christ, and he told his story of how, about ten years ago he was deeply attracted by the person of Jesus.  He is now very active in helping orphans on the island, saying that there are many others like him.

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