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Nicola Goes To Bali

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Melissa Marquardt and Nicola ButlerEvery off-season for the past five years or so, Melissa Marquardt and I have packed our bags and headed off on an adventure. For the second winter in a row, we decided to head to the magical wonderland that is CWC Wakepark in the Philippines.
 
After a grueling two day journey, we arrived in Naga to an awesome reunion with friends we only get to see a couple times a year. Derry Malloy set us up with a badass cabin and we immediately went to work making it feel more homey - as girls do.
 
We arrived on a bluebird day. The views of the volcano were absolutely surreal. We linked up with the homegirl, Melissa Marquardt, Nicola Butler and Carro DjupsjoCarro Djupsjo, who had been there since early December and all went for a ride.
 
There are endless reasons why CWC is my favorite park, but I think most of all is the camaraderie of all the girls there. Badass chicks from every corner of the globe meet at CWC and it’s the chillest, most supportive vibe. I’ve never seen a cable park with such a strong girl presence; sometimes standing in line the girls outnumber the guys!
 
BaliOur plan was to be in Asia for about seven weeks, which is over the allotted 30-day visa upon arrival. Instead of just extending our visa, Melissa and I decided to hop over to Bali for a quick vacay. Vacay from our vacay. We managed to convince some of our fellow Americans to join us. Having never been to Bali, they were stoked. We ventured off into Bali without a plan or worry in the world; quickly adapting to the motto, “hurry slowly”.
 
We started in the hip little town of Nicola ButlerCanggu, located in the North West region. Post morning surf, we all sat down for a well-deserved Aussie brekkie and a flat white. After going so long without seeing Western food, we were salivating at the sight of avocados and smoked salmon. The famous Crate Cafe definitely lived up to its name.
 
After Canggu, we travelled back down south to the beautiful Uluwatu region. Renowned for its perfect blue barrels, sacred temples and devious monkeys, it was a traveler's paradise. We stayed in an area called Bingin Beach (beware of the many, many stairs) and were a stone's throw away from the surf break. Accommodation was basic and the nights were very sweaty without AC. However, at the equivalent of $10 a night, we could hardly complain. Most of the Bali surf breaks are over shallow reef, so naturally we spent most of our time trying to Melissa Marquardtavoid the dreaded Bali reef tattoo. When things got sketchy, we knew our limits and retreated back to our balcony. From there we safely enjoyed the show with a $1Bintang in hand.

Bali is home to Luwak Coffee, AKA the most expensive coffee in the world. Retailing for around $700 a kilo in the States, you might be asking what the heck is Luwak and why is it so special. Well, in Indonesia they have this little animal called the Asian palm civet. These civets eat the coffee berries and then something magical Poop coffeehappens in their digestive tract. Their stomach enzymes help cancel out the bitterness of the coffee bean and release a unique aroma/flavor. Once defecated, the outer shell of the cherries still remain intact. The farmers then thoroughly wash it and begin roasting it like normal coffee beans. Being adventurous souls, Broc and I were the only ones that wanted to try it. It was super dark and gritty, which was off-putting. The Luwak ended up just tasting like very, very strong coffee and not poop, which was a relief. While I won’t be adding Luwak coffee to my daily routine anytime soon, it was definitely a cool experience to try it!
 
Once we were surfed out and severely sunburned, it was time to head back to CWC. With a constant influx of new people, birthday celebrations and public holidays, the rest of our month there was filled with plenty of shenanigans. Here’s to one of the best trips of my life and many more winters spent in the Philippines! #BookIt.



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