Man vs. Monkey

After surfing and lounging around Kuta for a couple of weeks, we decided to check out Ubud for a while.  For those of you who have read Eat Pray Love, Ubud is where Elizabeth lives while she’s in Indonesia.

We found a great place to stay on the mainest of main streets in Ubud.  After seeing the pool, there was no way we could pass this place up.

Just down the street from us was Cafe Wayan – made famous in Eat Pray Love because Elizabeth eats there often, befriends the owner and raises money so the owner can buy a house for herself and her little girls.  A nice story, for sure.  But it’s obvious that Cafe Wayan has been enjoying the publicity it received from the book.  The place is pretty swank now, with highly inflated prices, especially considering that the food offerings weren’t much different from every other place.  Though they did have some really nice cakes on display.

But we didn’t need Cafe Wayan and its overpriced cakes.  Our first day there, we found Kue Bakery and Cafe.  Yummy teas, homemade breads and cakes and pastries, and a nice-looking tapas menu.  We had a slice of cake and tea there the first day, but went back several days later for afternoon tea.  They have a menu of afternoon tea options served from 2:30-5:00, and for 40,000 rupiyah (about $5 cdn) you get a pot of looseleaf tea, and a small tray of various dessert offerings.  We paid the extra $1.25, got an extra pot of tea, and ordered our little tray, thinking that it would be a nice small afternoon snack.

Not quite.

What came was a tray so laden down with treats, we asked the staff if they had misunderstood and given us two smalls instead of one.  No no, they assured us, that’s the small.

Does this look small to you?

Somehow, somehow, we managed to work out way through it. 😉

Our first afternoon in Ubud, we heard about a literary event happening that evening at a placed called Cafe Luna.  Cafe Luna hosts writers/writing events every Tuesday and Thursday evening.  So we had dinner that night at Cafe Luna, and spent an enjoyable evening listening to Canadian writer Richard Van Camp talk about his life, the people in it, and the stories he collects.  It was so enjoyable, that we went back the next morning for breakfast, to take a writing workshop that Richard was holding at the cafe.  It ended up being more of a “here are things to remember when writing a book” than a workshop per say, but we did get a chance to chat with him, and I got a free t-shirt out of it.  And now we’re Facebook friends.  So obviously, I’m now a very important person in his life.

When in Ubud, it’s almost mandatory to visit the Monkey Forest.  It was a short walk from our hotel, and not expensive to get in.  The sanctuary is home to long-tailed macaques.  There are around 350 macaques living in the sanctuary right now.  Keeping in mind that these monkeys are still wild, it was amazing to walk amongst them.  Though when you see a monkey bare its teeth for the first time, you instinctively know to stay away.

The monkeys weren’t scared of the people around (there are some guides/trainers walking to make sure that monkey/human interaction doesn’t lead to trouble), but there were times when the human/monkey worlds crossed in unfavourable ways.  Like for this lady:

While I’m sure she thought this one monkey was so cute (she’s taking a picture, isn’t she?), it wasn’t so cute when a second monkey joined in, and they were trying to get under her skirt.  She was eventually saved by a trainer, but for the one minute she was one her own, it got pretty hairy.  When it’s man vs. monkey, the monkey will win.  Every time.

The instructions at the gates of the sanctuary were clear – don’t take in any food in a bag, if you want to feed the monkeys throw the food towards them a safe distance away from you, and don’t take in any bottles.  Stu opted not to listen to that last fule, and took in a full water bottle.  He gets thirsty!  Apparently, so do the monkeys, because we weren’t in there 10 minutes before he had a face-off with a monkey for his water.  It was a bit scary seeing them facing off in front of each other – I didn’t think to take a picture.  But like I said, when it’s man vs. monkey, the monkey always wins.  Stu smartly gave up his water bottle after a few seconds, and the monkeys did what monkeys do.  Explored it, opened it, then proceeded to dump the contents out and carry on.

Really, it’s not worth it to have your face ripped off by a monkey for a water bottle.  Or for anything.

But it wasn’t all hairy scary monkey tales.  It was really amazing to watch these animals up close, interacting with each other, with their opposable thumbs and everything.  So human-like.  Or maybe we’re monkey-like.


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by sarah p on May 24, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    that one is like a monkey version of one of sharon’s birthday parties.


  2. Posted by tanya on June 7, 2011 at 2:45 am

    Wow – Stu’s monkey face-off was like the toddler birthday party this weekend. Don’t get between kids and cake or kids and their presents. Yikes!


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