Thursday, November 19, 2009

Climbing Mount Merapi

"Mount Merapi, Gunung Merapi (literally Mountain of Fire) in Indonesian language, is a conical volcano located on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is the most active volcano in Indonesia and has erupted regularly since 1548."

Mount Merapi is my most enjoyable climb so far. Good weather, awesome view, and great company of climbers. And also not forgetting good food.

Joe carried a watermelon up! This is the most delicious watermelon I have eaten! Very juicy and very sweet!

I know what you are thinking, me being up in the mountains, hungry and tirsty, anything and everything will taste nice. Honestly, I it wasn't the mountains that made it taste nice.. it was really good!

Joe and Topig later made tea, and we all had crackers with it before breaking to made camp. ..Well, Topig and Andhy made camp. The rest of us slept in caves.

While the rest was busy with their thing, Darren was determine to catch the sunset. Clouds all the way, and we were at the wrong side of the mountain.

After saying goodbye to the sun we headed back to the camp cave site for dinner. Dinner was yummy! Abang Rashid's rendang flew in all the way from KL (imported rendang LOL!) was so delicious! He made it back home and actually checked it in the flight to Jogya. He froze it brought it up to Merapi with dry ice. Tempeh was sliced and cook in the mountain. Delicious as well.

We hit the sac early and tried to catch some sleep before the 4.30am breakfast. Joe made Indonesian style sandwich. Awesome stuff! Hotdog buns were sliced into half and fried in margarine. Stuffed in between the buns was fluffy egg omelet, serunding (the beef floss) and sweet and spicy chili sauce.

We started climbing up to the peak at 5.30am.. early but the sun was already catching up with us. Bob and the rest was far ahead but I slacked because Hi Sunrise! Andhy was the sweeper so we hung out a while to watch the sun.

When darkness dies with the speed of light...

After scrambling up loose rocks of Mount Merapi, we all had our Victory drink at Garuda Peak. YATTA!

After feeding our stomach with junk food and feeding the camera with loads of pictures and videos, we descended to the middle peak. I totally LOVE being there!

To my front, oceans of white cumulus clouds.
To my left, the view of Mount Merapi's peak.
The back, narrow rock and hilly path ways which leads to a "the hills are alive with the Sound of Music" type of view.
And to my right, Mount Merbabu!

Spectacular view of Mount Merbabu just opposite Mount Merapi.

I actually fell in love of the sight if Merbabu when we were in the van on the way to the foot of Mount Merapi. Looking at the view of Mount Merbabu from Merapi took my breath away and instantly made me decide that I will be back to climb it.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Kopi Luwak

100%! That's was how I felt when I absorbed the atmosphere at the lower second peak after my Garuda Peak climb in Mount Merapi. Did the taste of Kopi Luwak bring me to 100%? Well, read on.

As you know, or may not know, Kopi Luwak is the most expansive coffee in the world. (Actually, not that expensive if you think about it...75,000Rp is RM27...ok what) Why?

"Kopi Luwak (pronounced [╦łkopi 'luak]) or Civet coffee is coffee made from coffee berries which have been eaten by and passed through the digestive tract of the Asian Palm Civet (Paradoxurus hermaphroditus) and other related civets. The civets eat the berries, but the beans inside pass through their system undigested."

"Civets consume the red coffee cherries, when available, containing the fruit and seed, and they tend to pick the ripest and sweetest fruit. Thus there is a natural selection for the ripest coffee beans. The inner bean of the berry is not digested, but a unique combination of enzymes in the stomach of the civet add to the coffee's flavor by breaking down the proteins that give coffee its bitter taste. The beans are defecated, still covered in some inner layers of the berry. The beans are washed, and given only a light roast so as to not destroy the complex flavors that develop through the process. Light roasting is considered particularly desirable in coffees that do not exhibit bitterness, and the most pronounced characteristic of Kopi Luwak is a marked reduction in bitterness."

The whole process of the Luwak eating and processing the berries is actually really simple. The tough part is actually looking for the "output" of all that processing.

A friend of mine who is in the coffee roasting business told me that the beans stays fresh in the Luwak's manure. The manure dried, stored in air tight jar, can last up to 5 years without roasting. Once the beans are separated from the manure, they will have to be roasted and can only be kept up to 6 months before it looses its smell and flavor.

At the Kopi Luwak cafe, the coffee was made in front of us. The waitress removed the sealed and serialized coffee sachet from an organza pouch. (I was like... wahh so prestigious one ah) I think I had a "ulu" face on and she noticed. She asked if I wanted to smell the coffee powder and of course I said YES!

The coffee was so aromatic! The BEST coffee smell ever!

She then poured the coffee powder in a ceramic cup and poured hot water into it. Stir, and then put the lid on. She said "Tunggu 2 minit" 2 minutes it is.

The verdict? Well, I am not a coffee drinker so I can't comment much. I like my coffee with a cocoa base taste so I didn't like the Kopi Luwak. The bitterness of the coffee was there but the aroma of the coffee power was gone. There was another smell that I can't describe.. not a good or bad smell, just a smell.

Not too sure of the coffee is worth a try but for my case, definitely worth paying for the smell!

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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Bats at Malioboro Street, Yogyakarta

So.. went to Jogya for the second time and it was the second time I went hunting for food along the Malioboro Street. During my first trip, I remembered I saw a lady selling bats in front of Pasar Beringharjo. When I tried to take pictures but she chooed me away because I wasn't interested in buying... I was just there for the pictures.

This time, I managed to take a few close shots =)

I learn that folks in Yogyakarta buys the bats for medication purposes. Either deep fry them to eat, or boil them in soup to make some traditional soup thingy. Guess what the bat supposedly would cure?

Answer: Asthma.

Not like I have astma, but I would have bought some if they were ready to be eaten. But would have to bring it home to cook. My mom would freak out and dad would surely give me the looks of disgust. I did see another customer come by and pick out a few bats. There are different piles and the different piles represents different grades. The each low grade bats went for 100,000IDR each.. that's about RM35 each!

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