Rascals in the Monkey Forest

Rascals in the Monkey Forest

Today was a full touring day.  They say that the best way to get around is to hire a driver for the day.  The cost is $65 plus tip.  Make sure you get a driver that speaks English well.  Although most of the drivers are very good tour guides, we had one who had a very heavy accent, and was difficult to understand what he was saying.  There are probably more scooters than there are cars, so it would be pretty scary to get into this traffic.  There seem to be no rules, and people drive like bumper cars at the carnival turned reality, going every which way.  It’s common for drivers to avoid traffic by driving into the oncoming traffic lane to get around other vehicles.  Add 1000 scooters to the mix and you get an idea of Bali driving.  It’s absolutely crazy.We did so many things today and I’ll talk about my favorite…Ever since I saw it on The Bachelor tv show, I have wanted to come and feed the monkeys in the monkey forest.  As I bought a bag of peanuts and a bunch of bananas, I was thinking of sitting gingerly with this cute little creature as he gently took a treat from my hand…kind of how Snow White sits in the forest with all the animals around her. Nothing could be farther from the truth!!!

Monkey Families in the Forest

As you approach the forest, all these monkeys are running all along the ground, the walls, and in the trees above.  They are all different sizes…babies are so cute and small, moms are in between, and then there are the much bigger, very aggressive, and dominant older males.  They are all scampering in all directions, so it makes taking photos difficult.  They don’t sit still very long, and if you don’t have food, they aren’t interested in you.

I’ve been informed by the monkey assistant, who will help you get a photo for a few bucks, that I shouldn’t feed them peanuts.  They will go crazy and start fighting each other…too aggressive, so no peanuts.  I was hoping to sneak them a few until I saw the teeth of the older ones when they open their mouths…holy mackerel…they have huge, mean, vicious teeth – yikes!!  You don’t want to get these guys angry at you!!

Wow…you’ve got a mean set of molars!!

So I reach in my pocket to get a little banana, and before I am even prepared, a monkey will be running up my body to grab it out of your hand.  They tell us “hold your hand up high with the banana.  That gives you a little more time.”  If you have food, they are super aggressive, very fast, and once they start grabbing at you, you’d best give it to them whether you’re ready to or not.

The forest itself is other worldly…as if you are in a land that time forgot, and you are transformed back in time.  It was amazing to me how, in the middle of this seemingly untouched jungle, you’d find more Hindu temple altars, the dragon gods covered with moss, and Komodo dragons blending right into the ancient rock.
Not far from the Monkey Forest were the rice terraces.  They still harvest the old fashion way of hand pulling the grain and slapping the seeds out, but there has been a little progress and some is now done by machine.  I cannot tell you how peaceful and serene this vista was.  A photo just does not to it justice.
Bali Rice Terraces
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Monie Thompson

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