Trip Start Jan 16, 2012
59Trip End Jul 11, 2012
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Where I stayed
Hotel Melati Homestay, Candikuning
Our second-floor corner room was full of light and overlooked the valley and the homestay's garden with its cacao tree; after lunch in the garden restaurant we couldn’t resist a nap in the four-poster bed, surveying the scene from time to time when our eyes opened. But the countryside beckoned, and with what we hoped was enough time before dark, we headed out to find the trail to two waterfalls.
The waterfalls provided the goal for the walk, but the true reward was traipsing along flower-lined forest tracks past the occasional village houses, uphill and down
The next day we took a long walk down from Munduk into the valley of rice fields, village houses and gardens. There were paths and narrow paved roads running every which way, up and down, past fields of coffee and rice, crossing rivers, and everywhere the sound of water running, gushing through narrow channels and providing the soundtrack for our walk. The distinctive smell of cloves wafted our way: upwind of us cloves were drying on tarps spread out on the road
We pushed on to see a famed banyan tree, which was a maze of roots that you could walk through, for a small fee. A temple stands near the tree and the tree itself is sacred; a sign on it forbids menstruating women to enter.
Still more new taste experiences awaited us in Candikuning, where we spent one night so that we could visit the Pura Luhur Batukau (Temple) and UNESCO-nominated Jatiluwih Rice Fields. The rice fields were mostly harvested and flooded and are probably more dramatic when they are full of green rice, but the terracing was still impressive
Our driver, Ayat, sold watches in the market when he wasn’t driving tourists around, and he took us there after our drive. He had been pointing out the fruit trees along the road—guava, jackfruit, tamarillo, passionfruit, mangosteen, rambutan, starfruit, snakefruit—a tropical dream for a fruit lover, but he had to admit that almost all of them were not currently in season, and so there were no fruits to be seen on the trees (although lucky for us, strawberries are in season, small and sweet). In the market, he took us to his mother’s fruit stall and gave us a tamarillo to try (sweet and sour), as well as a snakefruit (crunchy, like an apple, but with a snakeskin-like peel). I am amazed how new tastes and sights continue to turn up in my life—travel can provide these, endlessly it seems. And in this same market there was a cute hole-in-the-wall shop with two chairs and a small table where we could buy a real cappuccino. Life really does never fail to surprise.