The Monkey Forest
Now this is the same monkey forest I went to last trip where the monkeys seemed relatively harmless (compared to Sangeh) I wandered in and they let me take pictures and played all around me. It was amazing. Just when I started to relax a younger one jumped on my camera bag and started fumbling through the pockets. I was carefully deflecting the probes trying not to be threatening when he got hold of my new flashlight.
I tried to take it back and quickly learned in monkey land possession is 9/10ths of the law. A loud squeal, a stare, and a showing of teeth quickly told me I should not try to take things from monkeys, even if it is MY flashlight. OK, Fine, Iím smarter then a monkey, Iíll trick him out of it. (Heh heh heh, stupid tourist) Just when I was devising my plan, he decided it would be better to go for higher ground. So I followed him up a hill. (See previous parentheses) where he stopped to play with my flashlight once again. At this point I heard several monkeys in the trees. I took a slow look around and I was smack dab in the middle of the whole family. A precarious position if they happen to get upset at me taking away juniors toys, Calm and collected (and protecting my camera bag) I begin executing my plan. I think, well, he canít hold the flashlight if his hands are full. So I reach in and pull out an empty film canister. He takes it in one hand and moves the flashlight to another. Success! Heís going to fall for it, another one should do it. I reach in and pull out another film can and get ready to pick up the flashlight. Just when I think things are going well, he pulls a fast one. Funny creatures monkeys, their feet are like a second pair of hands. He takes the first film container and transfers it to one of his feet and takes the can from my hand. BLAST! Fooled by a monkey. Well I have more cans then he has hands. I hand him some more but they just are not as interesting as a flashlight. Just when I am about to give up all hope he looses interest, drops everything, and walks away. At last! I have found his weakness! A short attention span. I try to move in to pick it up but I am out maneuvered by another monkey. Here we go again. But this time, I know their game. I stay close to the monkey feigning disinterest and just wait. It is no fun holding the flashlight if the human doesnít want it. Eventually she drops it and I pick it up and walk down the hill. That was my first encounter with Ubud monkeys.
This time I came into the forest forewarned and forearmed, monkeys are smarter then they, or is that I, look. I walk into the forest and sit down on a wall. Some tourists walk in carrying bananas from a local vendor. (Heh heh heh, stupid tourists ). They are quickly swarmed by monkeys in a feeding frenzy. Frightened (rightly so) they drop their food and get out of the middle of the pack. By now pretty much half the family is down from the hill. And playing around me. All of a sudden a younger monkey jumps on my back and lays down spread eagle across my shoulder. I just sit there wondering what the objective is since I donít have any food, when I notice this little monkey is discretely frisking me. The sly little devil is patting me down looking for pockets. I calmly put my hand over my pockets securing any contents that may be inside when a second monkey not so discretely starts searching one of my pants pockets. OK now things are getting out of hand. A third monkey approaches so I stand up and walk away. Same old monkeys.
After that little adventure I walk around a water temple that looks like it was built in the last couple of years. (A tourist family thought it was very old Ėas in 1000 years- until they found a date on the monitor lizard carvings Ė 1997) I smile, take a few snapshots and go back to the hotel and wait for Matt.
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Text and Photography Copyright © 1999Blake Holliday. All rights reserved.