Monkey Business

Trip Start Feb 12, 2011
Trip End Nov 19, 2011

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Where I stayed

Flag of Indonesia  , Bali,
Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Both of us were feeling a little better and my appetite for breakfast inspired me to try the Balinese pancake, and I was thrilled to discover it was essentially a crepe, albeit a sloppy eggy crepe, did I mention I LOVE CREPES! This modest victory of satisfaction didn't last long as Bali Belly continued to stab me in the gut with its sharp knife.  This would continue but undeterred I forced myself to walk up and down Monkey Forest Road checking out all the shops.  Although I rarely buy anything, even at home, I’m convinced my strange fascination with shopping comes from working for the largest retail architecture firm on the planet and my relatively modest upbringing, where shopping was a once a year occurrence.  I was overwhelmed by fake name brand clothiers and local wonderful Balinese handicrafts which were available in abundance.  I wondered if the locals only saw me as a walking ATM or if they could tell I was sick because I felt like an escapee from a mental hospital sweating and wincing like I was coming off my meds.

A Brief word about Balinese craft and design:  Having known several people who have travelled and worked in Indonesia, I have always been fascinated by their craftsmanship, especially Java and Bali.  There is a great store in Seattle that sells fantastic wood products from Java and I have not been disappointed in the arts, crafts, and design I’ve seen in here in Bali.  Unfortunately I don’t have a shipping container to fill, but I do intend on coming back one day.

Not to be deterred from our touring, I grabbed Erica in the afternoon and we enjoyed some hearty soup before heading to the Monkey Forest, another playground for monkeys.  You cannot deny how cute they are and I could take photos for hours, but it didn’t take long for one of them to literally jump on Erica and rip her water bottle from her grasp.  Because she had already experienced this monkey 'scam’ in the Amazon several years ago, she had little patience for the little mischievous bastards and we moved our way through the park at a reasonable pace. For those who have not had the opportunity to visit with monkeys in a third world country, let me assure you that monkeys (the variety that can’t rip your arm out of its socket) are the most mischievous and cunning animals on the planet and because they happen to be cute, tourism authorities spoil them silly and charge tourists money to support their bad behavior.

Our monkey forest excursion was to be the beginning of an 8km walk around Ubud but as we left the park the torrential rains started in on us forcing us from our perch above a cock fight (something I would have liked to see more of) and into the smallest internet café I’ve ever seen.  We killed nearly an hour before the rain let up and we picked up on our journey where we were offered intricate wood carvings for pennies.  We found ourselves walking through what appeared to be a suburban neighborhood with all of the houses (compounds) protected by stone walls and intricate stone gates well beyond the means of a middle income American.  Of course the Balinese living in these compounds would be in poverty back home, the architectural detailing of the exterior of their homes reflected wealth...Perhaps of a different kind than we are accustomed.  Unfortunately, the weather refused to cooperate and within the hour we found ourselves walking back to our guest house in the pouring rain.  For Erica, it seemed Ubud wasn’t meant to be and we retreated to our room until dinner.

We both were feeling good enough to enjoy a nice meal and a Bintang so things were looking up.  We even ventured down Monkey Forest Road for gelato and stumbled in to the Coffee and Silver restaurant which was featuring live jazz.  The band was surprisingly good and I had an absolutely amazing crepe with vanilla ice cream and some type of butter honey sauce that was likely mixed with the laughter of cherubs in a warm kettle.

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Kristi Denny on

John- You are such an amazing photographer. We are so enjoying the visual version of your adventure tales. Thanks.

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