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Cats eating

Video: Our Cyprus Housesit Watching 7 Cats

Cyprus Housesit Video

I first attempted to make an overall Cyprus video, but our “tourist” clips just didn’t blend well with all the cat videos. So this is a video mostly featuring the seven cats we watched in Dhoros. Gotta love cat videos, though!  I will probably make another short video showing some of our activities out, though. Enjoy our Cyprus housesit!

~B~

Ubud Sacred Monkey Forest (Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana)

While we spent the majority of our one week in Bali in the town of Kuta, we did make a day trip up to Ubud. We really wanted to see a few things there, but ultimately ended up only really getting to see the Ubud Monkey Forest – Mandala Wisata Wenara Wana.

A quick pit-stop to develop some pictures

We started our day off quite early as it was a long ride to Ubud from Kuta. Leaving around 8am, we started off towards Colour Digital Photo Lab to pick up some film Briana had dropped off on an earlier outing to Tanah Lot. It went much speedier this time, since we did not get lost (yet). After getting the film, we then proceeded up towards Ubud.

The ride was relatively easy, although it did require constant checking of the GPS. The roads were always having little turns to them, and nothing was labeled very simply. The best indicator we were going in the right direction was that we were traveling north and uphill. I knew that was the direction of Ubud.

Occasionally, we’d see a sign. I’m pretty sure we technically got lost a few times because the GPS would not know where we were. Luckily, Briana managed to keep up on track and around noon we finally managed to arrive.

Grabbing a bite to eat

We were very hungry, so made a b-line to Earth Cafe. Briana read that it offered good vegetarian options at a fair price so we decided that was where we should go. We were moderately surprised to find that it was the exact same menu as the Zula Vegetarian in Kuta.

Upon finishing our meal, we rode about 3 minutes to the entrance of the Monkey Forest. Parking was a bit confusing, as there seemed to be several lots, all for cars, but none for bikes.

A winding “road” to park

An attendant directed us towards a small alley looking path for us to go. It ended up being a very long and very narrow path through steep twists and turns – a little harrowing, but fun – that eventually put us at the main entrance as well as the bike parking.

Path To Parking
Parking

Get In

We purchased our tickets to enter the temple for 40,000 IDR (~$3.00) each. The first warnings upon entering the park, and posted all throughout as well, is to not have food with you. And if you do have food and a monkey wants it, that food now belongs to the monkey.

The monkeys are fierce, and although they appear cute and fun loving, they are also mischievous little fiends. There were a few occasions they tried to sneak up and grab the bag when we put it down for a rest to grab water.

Paying
Monkey and Baby

All about the monkeys

The sacred Ubud Monkey Forest Sanctuary is populated by over 600 Balinese Long-Tailed Macaques. The monkeys belong to one of five groups, each which occupies it’s own territory throughout the park. The park itself is not that large, and only supports such a large number due to human interaction. As a result, conflicts between the different troops frequently occur. During the dry season, some troops have to cross into other territories to get water.

The monkeys are fed a primary diet of sweet potatoes by staff three times a day, and tourists can purchase bananas to feed to the monkeys. They also received papaya, corn, coconut, and other fruits.

Monkeys Eating
Monkeys
Monkeys Drinking From Water Fountain

Monkey obesity has become a problem for them. They have access to so much food as well as stealing junk food from tourists (such as chips).

Lazing Around
Monkey with Chips bag

The Monkey Forest is very large

The temple complex covers about 27 acres and contains three Hindu temples constructed in approximately 1350 CE. Tourist may not enter the temples themselves, unless they intend to actually pray and use the temples for their intended purposes. But otherwise, you may wander the compounds and look about as you please.

Temple Map

There is the Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal – the Great Temple of Death. It is the main temple in the southwestern part of the park. Here patrons worship the god Hyang Widhi in the personification of Shiva.

Temple

The Pura Beji, or Beji temple is in the northwestern part of the park and worships Hyang Widhi in the personification of Gangga. It is a Holy Spring for bathing and spiritual cleansing.

Temple

The Pura Prajapati is located in the northeastern park of the park, to worship Hyang Widhi in the personification of Prjapati. A cemetery lies across from this temple, where the dead are buried and then later cremated.

Cemetery
Temple

The park is very mountainous, full of jungles, and contains a ravine with a rocky stream. All of which can be visited.

Jungle
Bridge Over Ravine
Going Down a Path

Very odd statues to say the least

One of the most interesting thing about the temple though, is the statues. We can’t believe that upon prior research, and researching afterwards as well, that we could find no information whatsoever regarding the statues and carvings.

Cow Statue

They are interesting to say the least.

Statue

With many venturing into disturbingly sexual and erotic imagery.

Creepy Sexual Statue
Weird Sex Statue
Weird Statue
Really Creepy Statue
Um...

Others are just downright violent.

Violent Statue
Creepy Statue

The best explanation we could find is that imagery is meant to depict and satisfy demons so that they won’t bring misfortune to the living. But perhaps the artists were just a bit disturbed. We’ll leave the answer up to you. Regardless, we wouldn’t recommend bringing young or impressionable children here…

Pig Sex

The area also has an amphitheater for various shows that may be put on.

Amphitheater

There is also a less dense forested area with information about the trees.

Briana On a Swing

In search of waterfalls

Once we left the forest, we tried our best to find a waterfall about 30 minutes drive east. My phone was almost dead and not wanting to have the GPS work. We got close, but ultimately never did make it. We got a few great shots of a volcano however and a wonderful look into local Balinese life.

I ultimately decided to give up, with the sun beginning to sink and knowing we had a long way to go, and a decent amount of driving in the dark to do. Briana was upset, because she is sure she could have directed us to the waterfall (we were very close admittedly), but it is what it is.

Highway Gate
Rural Bali

Getting back was not quite as simple. We had made some weird turns, but ultimately just headed south towards Denpasar knowing we could figure out how to get to Kuta from there. My phone was dead by this point.

Watch out for cops

The ride went smooth mostly. I got caught by a cop at a check-point, who promptly pointed out my license did not allow me to drive a motorbike. He asked me who rented the bike, and when I replied our AirBNB host, he just sighed and rolled his eyes. He told us, “Get a license tomorrow.” and then shooed us on our way. I really thought we were going to have to bribe our way out of it.

As we approached town, the sun was almost set, and we didn’t know how to get back properly. We pulled over at a Circle K, got a drink and charged my phone for about thirty minutes. It wasn’t much, but it got my phone back up to 20% and gave our sore butts a rest from the bike. We then headed off, through the dark and finally wound up about an hour later back at our AirBNB.

~K~

Monkey Temple Monkey Statue

Southeast Asia Ice Cream Review

I have been meaning to put up our Southeast Asia Ice Cream Review post for a while and after my grandma Eileen asked about it during our last Skype session, I decided it was time. You may remember our Korean Ice Cream Reviews in which we reviewed 39 different ice creams across four posts. We haven’t found as many ice creams elsewhere due to a few reasons:

  1. As of late we are often far from grocery stores and in hot weather so we aren’t able to carry back ice cream.
  2. Occasionally we don’t even have a fridge / kitchen.
  3. There has been some overlap in ice creams across countries.

While we did manage to try a couple ice creams in Vietnam, we don’t have any ice cream bar reviews for Vietnam or Indonesia. The reviews below are for Malaysia (1- 13) and Thailand (14-18). There is a little less variation in comparison to the ice creams we tried in Korea. You will notice that we tended to get some of the same bars with different flavors.  While we had many options available to us which included red beans, we neglected to try them as we already determined how we felt about red beans in desserts on multiple occasions while in Korea.

Yang Yang Ice Cream Coconut

Yang Yang Coconut 1 copyYang Yang Coconut 2 copy

“Tastes pretty much like frozen coconut on a stick. Pretty good and refreshing with a slight like creamy ice cream flavor to it as well. It definitely has a coconut texture to it. This was probably made with actual, like coconut, you know? It doesn’t melt. I like it. It gets better as you eat it more”

-Kyle

“Well first off, this is hard to hold because the stick is so short and small and it is round, not like the oval ones. Kind of tastes like nothing. Or a little bit like the water we drank out of a coconut at the Batu Caves. I like coconut but this is not that good to me. I guess I just like coconut milk and coconut in the form of flakes and some coconut flavored things, but I don’t like coconut water or coconut popsicle too much. It is true that I like it more as I eat it. I honestly can’t decide if I like it or not.”

-Briana

Durian Ice Cream Bar

Durian Ice Cream 1Durian Ice Cream 2

“Uhh. Wow. Wow. That is a strong smell. It smells like a fart. I changed my mind, it doesn’t smell like a fart, it smells like rotting onion. The flavor itself is not actually too bad, not compared to the smell. It kind of tastes like sautéed onion, covered in sugar and cream… Yeah, I’m done with this… It’s certainly an acquired taste.”

Two Hours Later: “~Burp~ Ugh, why does the durian make me burp? Bleh, I still taste it, I can’t get rid of the taste, nothing covers it. And it’s just getting worse. Make it stop.” 

-Kyle

“So this actually just smells to me like water that has gone bad like sitting in the car in a bottle or something. Also very strong onion-y smell. Not good for a dessert. (After tasting) Uhhhh ehl yuck. At least you can deal with it (to Kyle.) My breath is horrible from a lick I think. It is honestly so gross and I cannot eat it. It’s disgusting. It is a big thing here though so we had to try it.”

-Briana

Memphis Meltdown Big Bikke

Memphis Meltdown 1Memphis Meltdown 2

“I really like this one. It has a really thick milk chocolate shell with cookie crumbles in it. And then the inside is kind of like a cookies and cream ice cream but with a little more of a milk cream flavor to it. It’s good.”

-Kyle

“This is really good. The outside shell is hard, crunchy and good and the inside ice cream is soft and creamy. The taste of the ice cream reminds me a little bit of some of the Korean ones, I guess it’s the milk flavor (as opposed to vanilla), which always makes me feel like it tastes kind of expired but if you can get over that it is quite good.”

-Briana

Cornetto Royale Chocolate

Cornetto Chocolate copyCornetto Chocolate 2 copy

“Wow, very chocolatey. In appearance, it reminds me of the Goo Goo cones in Korea which I thought were great. The taste is a little different though. It is strong, but good.”

-Briana

“Mm. It’s got a really good strong dark chocolate flavor. Pretty firm ice cream, good silky texture and the waffle cone’s really got a good crunch to it as well.”

-Kyle

Cornetto Royale Red Velvet Flavor

Cornetto Red Velvet copyCornetto Red Velvet 2 copy

“The top white ice cream tastes very creamy, almost like whipped cream. The pink ice cream has a good taste, kind of chocolate-like as it should be, and the cone is good like normal.”

-Briana

“Definitely tastes like red velvet and it’s cool it’s got actual like cake crumbles on top. It tastes really good. And it’s got a big ball of fudge in the center.”

-Kyle

Cornetto Royale Black Forest

Cornetto Blackforest 1 copyCornetto Blackforest 2 copy

“Mm. It’s got a good slightly bitter dark chocolate taste to it. Nice little chocolate cookie crumbles on top.”

-Kyle

“Yum. Good like the rest. The top is sweet. Reminds me of a jam with some little chocolate things on it. The cone is chocolatey. The jam goes all the way down the center to the end.”

-Briana

Cornetto Limited Edition Taylor Swift Caramel Shake

Cornetto Caramel 1 copyCornetto Caramel 4 copy
Cornetto Caramel 2 copyCornetto Caramel 3 copy

“The decorative part of top has a creamy caramel flavor. I am happy to see and taste chocolate in there as well. The ice cream has a good taste and texture and the cone is crunchy and nice.”

-Briana

“Really good caramel ice cream on top of regular vanilla ice cream and it’s got like chocolate fudge syrup, almonds and stuff. This one’s really good.”

-Kyle

Cornetto Vanilla

(Sorry, we don’t seem to have a picture for this one!)

“Good. Honestly, you can look at it and see that it is good and it pretty much tastes how you probably imagine. The chocolate on top is hard and good and the ice cream is a nice vanilla and there are some little nuts.”

-Briana

“Good, clean vanilla flavor, chocolatey shell. Nice, like caramelized nuts on top, good crunchy shell.”

-Kyle

Wall’s Top Ten Chocolate Flavor

wallstoptenchocolatewallstoptenchocolate 2 copy

“I thought it was a really nice chocolate ice cream bar with a decent chocolate shell. Nutty on the outside, nothing particular special flavor-wise but it was a good chocolate.”

-Kyle

“I was in the mood for chocolate when I chose this one and it satisfied me. The shell is good and the ice cream is good.” 

-Briana

Wall’s Top Ten Vanilla Flavor

Top Ten Vanilla 1Top Ten Vanilla 2

“Good solid shell with lots of peanuts and pretty decent quality vanilla. Considering how cheap it is, pretty good.”

-Kyle

“Stays together. Solid. Good. Ice Cream. Yum. ”

-Briana

Bites Vanilla

Bites Vanilla 1 copyBites Vanilla 2 copy

“Pretty good chocolate shell, has some nice crunchy nuts inside of it. The ice cream is a nice vanilla (not the milk flavor).”

-Briana

“I like that it’s got a thick shell on it. A lot of like, nuts in it. It’s a pretty good quality vanilla inside. It’s good.”

-Kyle

Cravio Chocolate

Cravio Chocolate 1Cravio Chocolate 2

“It’s a pretty decent chocolate ice cream. It’s a little artificial in flavoring. The shell is good but it’s a little thin as well, but it does have peanuts on it. It’s alright.”

-Kyle

“It is good, but not as good as the others. The shell is good. It might be the ice cream that is a little less good. Maybe I’m wrong about what specifically is off, though.”

-Briana

Cravio Choco berry

Cravio chocoberry 1Cravio Chocoberry 2 copy

“Based on the picture I was concerned that this would be overly artificial and jelly-like but it’s really quite good. I like chocolate and strawberry together. The ice cream is good and the jelly inside is pretty decent too.”

-Briana

“It was a really good strawberry flavor. I really liked the jam inside because it gave it that extra punch of strawberry and the shell was really good. Mixes really well with that strawberry flavor.”

-Kyle

Butterfly Shaped-Ice Cream

Butterfly 1 copyButterfly 2 copy

“It’s supposed to be strawberry and grape flavor. It sort of tastes like that. Certainly artificial, but pretty good.”

-Briana

“It’s pretty decent popsicle. It’s like an artificial strawberry flavor.”

-Kyle

Bantu (Panda)

Panda 1Panda 2

“Aside from the fact that it fell apart, it’s pretty good. Tastes like a pretty normal, decent chocolate ice cream. And vanilla ice cream. Kind of soft but it’s pretty good. It’s nice that it’s like a panda shape. It’s kind of fudgy. It kind of reminds me of like ice cream cake ice cream.”

-Kyle

“It’s good. Cute look, standard taste. Tastes like typical tub ice cream (good) shaped into little form. There’s some creaminess to it.”

-Briana

Nestle “Thai Name” (We can’t read it)

Bubble gum 1 copyBubble gum 2 copy

“Tastes like bubble gum. There’s like a white chocolate drizzle all over it. I mean it’s pretty good.”

-Kyle

“I thought this was going to be strawberry. Kyle tasted it first though and told me, though. I am not really a fan of the bubblegum flavor. It’s okay. It’s obviously ice cream but something about the texture reminds me of gum as well. I like the ribbons around the outside.”

-Briana

Nestle Milo 1

milo 1

“It basically tastes kind of like a Nesquick chocolate milkshake but frozen but really its also got like a malted chocolate kind of taste and a nice shell. There’s also chunks of like chocolate nougat in here.” 

-Kyle

“This is really good. I was not sure how it would be because of how cheap it was but the brand was Nestle so it was not like an off-brand so I thought we should definitely go for it. I really like the shell on the top but I especially enjoy the little pieces of chocolate inside. Just a good chocolate ice cream bar. Would recommend.” 

-Briana

Nestle Milo 2

(Sorry, I cannot find the photo right now but I will add it if I do.) 

“This is so good. I know Kyle prefers the other one but I think I like this one best. When you bite into it you can just see the iciness like a fog form around your mouth. I like the chocolate ribbons surrounding the chocolate ice cream and of course the creamy sweet center.”

-Briana

“It’s a milder chocolate with a very creamy coconut center. Really good.”

-Kyle 

Honorable Mentions.

These two can be found back in the states and we sort of neglected to review them. They were delicious, though!

Honorable Mention copy

~B~