A stroll through Bali’s famous Monkey Forest took just enough time for the girls’ batiks to dry. This part of Bali contains a number of famous temples sited within ancient, untouched forests that are home to large bands of wild monkeys. Lucky monkeys; their choice of real estate endows them with holy status thanks to the nearby temples.
Sharon and I had visited the forest during our last trip to Bali 17 years ago, and I was curious to see whether it had changed. Back then, the town of Ubud was a fair distance from the forest entrance, requiring an hour’s walk. But the town had grown so much since then that the streets, shops and restaurants now extended all the way to the official entrance to the park. Instead of an adventurous trek to the forest, like we had experienced back then, going from the town to the forest entrance felt just like crossing Fifth Avenue to enter Central Park!
Hmm. These monkeys may be wild, but they sure aren’t scared by humans. I wanted the bananas to last until we had actually taken a few steps into the park, so I turned my back to the troop and quickly stuffed my pockets with the individual bananas. Sami’s response was immediate: “Daddy! The sign says not to put bananas in your pockets! The monkeys will find them!” Yeah, right. I’ll show those monkeys. They won’t get past me a second time.
I thought evolution made humans smarter than monkeys…
At that point, I decided that the best things to put in my pockets were my own two hands, and I gave the rest of the bananas to the girls. Having witnessed me getting ambushed, the girls were a bit nervous, but they soon got more comfortable, and the fun began!Sami was first out of the gate with a successful hand-off:
We did a lot of “Awwww…”-ing at the cute little baby monkeys, too:
The Monkey Forest boasts several important temples, but we weren’t really in the mood to don our sarongs and check them out. Posing by the cool statues in the softly fading daylight was more our speed.
On the way out, we spent more time watching the monkeys frolicking around. With questions about evolution still humming in my mind, we headed back up the hill to find our own snacks that wouldn’t get snatched away.