Alex: “Feel like an adventure this Saturday?”
Me, instantly: “NO.” Adventure is something of which, I feel, we have enough at the minute.
Alex: “It’s a coffee plantation.”
Me: “I’ll pack a picnic.”
There are times when I forget that we live on an exotic tropical island. Last weekend I was reminded. A very short drive from our new home there is a mountain covered with coffee trees that are covered with coffee beans and we went there and it was beautiful. (Thus I prove to you I am in language school by the thoroughly awkward sentence construction that now characterizes all of my communication. Although just why learning to speak Indonesian should mean I can no longer write in English this I do not know.)
We took a ride on the “Tourist Train”, a sort of golf cart in disguise, that begins at the rubber trees, drives past a nutmeg grove, winds through the coffee trees, and concludes in a grove of cocoa trees.
That’s nutmeg growing on the tree, folks. The road winds up the mountain through acres of stunted coffee trees. Most of the trees on the plantation are at least forty years old but carefully pruned to keep them at a reachable height for the more than 600 people who will come in August to harvest the beans. Coffee trees do best without direct sun, so there are taller trees planted throughout to provide shade for them. Isn’t this road stunning?
I think they look like rhododendrons from afar. Only so, so much better because they are laden with clusters of the world’s most magical and delicious bean…
The children were all about picking the beans and tasting the beans . . . then immediately back to just picking them again. They’re inedible, so our harvest is now just sitting on the kitchen table in the apple bowl looking cool. (“Mom, you drink that stuff?”)
Yes, dear. Yes, I do.
It’s actually a bit of a quest to locate good coffee here–most growers find greater economic advantage in exporting their harvest. But we were able to buy a bag of locally-grown roasted beans from the plantation before we left.
Here’s Harriet immediately after she exclaimed, “Well THIS is a whole lot funner than I thought it was gonna be!”
The best part was when suddenly, careening around the edge of the mountain, we were granted a view of the rice paddies in the valley and the volcano behind. The pictures don’t do it justice. We’ll take you here when you come visit.
We lingered so long on the trail that the cart behind caught up with us. This was a great little partnership. We were taking pictures of coffee. They were taking pictures of us.
There was a rusty metal playground, ATV rides, a zipline, and the inevitable bouncy castle. There were wonderful cappuccinos served to us as we sat in a little straw hut. But my favorite was definitely the sights like this one:
And this one–isn’t she beautiful under the rubber trees?
This last photo sums up how we felt about this adventure. Things are looking up.