A scam we escape in Bali.

We were staying in a homestay with a traditional Balinese family near Tegalangla Rice Terrace. We had hired a Scooter to travel around Bali. Riding without an International Driving License or local driving license. The license of the country of origin is not valid in Bali. We were not having either the International Driving License or local driving license.

So we were riding illegally in a foreign land. On that day we woke up early to visit Tegalangla rice Terrace to escape the crowd and click some good pictures with early morning ambient light. Also, we had the intention to visit Kintamani and Pura Besakih Temple. 

We visited Tegalangla rice Terrace and spent about an hour there. Then we started for Kintamani to visit Mount Batur. Mount Batur is an active volcano and last erupted in the year 2000. This incident happened with us in between Tegallangla and Kintamani. Kintamani is some 15 Km away from Tegllalang. After leaving Tegalangla we come across some hamlets and crowd of tourist got thin, slowly sign of civilisation also decreased. Then we come across a patch of road with greenery and coffee estates on both sides.

The road was growing desolate, with few vehicles coming from the other side. A local approached us, from behind in his scooter and asked:

“Do you have an International Driving License?”, A Police check post is ahead some Kilometer ahead, be careful. 

We got scared and stopped since we were riding illegally, without driving license. He also stopped beside us. 

Then he said, a Police checking goes every day at Police Check post till 10:30 AM some 3 to 4 km ahead from here. And Police may impose a huge penalty if they caught you riding without a license. 

We were terrified.

Then he said, he also doesn’t have the license, so he will wait for some times at his friends coffee estates some 500 meters ahead. He also invited us to visit his friends coffee estate spend some time up to 10:30 and then we can continue to Kintamani for Mount Batur.

We were terrified and doesn’t want to get into the trouble. So we accepted his invitation and went along him to visit his friend coffee estates.

We went inside the coffee estates. The coffee estate well planned for visitors. There was a nice sitting area with a view of the valley and jungle. The place was good enough for leisurely spend the time. There was a coffee tasting counter on one side and a small souvenir shop selling souvenier and different types of coffee.

On one corner the have kept animal an Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus) also called Luwak kept in a cage. He explained to us about Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus) and Kopi luwak or Luwak Coffee. 

Kopi luwak is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries, which have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet (Paradoxurus Hermaphroditus). It is also termed civet coffee. The cherries of coffees ferments as it passes through civet’s intestines. The civet digest outer part of cherries of coffee whereas coffee beans remain untouched. The cherries of coffee are excreted with other faecal matter, are collected to produce Kopi Luwak. Producers of the coffee beans claims, the process of producing Kopi Luwak involves two steps to, selection – civets choose to eat only certain cherries and digestion – biological or chemical mechanisms in the animal’s digestive tract alters the composition of the coffee cherries. Kopi Luwak is a way of processing coffee and it is the most expensive coffees in the world.

So he wanted to sell Kopi Luwak to us, and this was the scam.

Previously I have learned about Kopi Luwak in Discovery or Nat Geo Channel, So I knew about it. So all of sudden, something ran into my mind regarding the genuineness of Kopi Luwak.

“How do I know that it is real Kopi Luwak?” , “I am not a coffee expert”.

So I went back a step and denied to buy Kopi Luwak. So he lost interest in us and started getting away from us, saying, “you can visit the rest of the place by yourself and its 10:30 so he should leave”.

We also sprang to leave. At the exit, we asked him to go together with us, but he denied and said he will go after some time.

We left the place for Kintamani. After a few Kilometers, there was no sign of civilization. The roads were empty, desolate, lonely and scary. We got scared, as it was foreign land with no friends and family close by. We stopped and chose not to go any further and turned back. 

While returning I said my wife, “I suspect that man’s intentions”. We overpass the coffee estate we had visited. Hardly we have gone a Kilometer, we found the same man, involved with another couple from a foreign land. We pass the man without recognising him. We went some meters ahead away from the sight of that man’s eyesight and stopped.

I said my wife, “My suspicious was true, we have just escaped a scam”. I explained to her that man was scammer, and the scam was, he was trying to sell fake Kopi Luwak to us. And everything about Police and Checking at Police post was also fake. It is not his friends Coffee Estates, he is employed there to sell fake Kopi Luwak

Then we turned back to ride to Kintamani. When we again reached the coffee estates and we saw the man’s scooters and other couple’s scooter were parked together.

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