The Monkey Forest in Ubud is mentioned in just about every travel book or article about Bali. It wasn’t far from where I was staying, the entrance fee was modest, and monkeys are cute, right?
I’d been warned to not bring anything with me into the park. Some things, like plastic bags, might be harmful to the monkeys. Other things, like backpacks, water bottles, and hats, the monkeys might steal from you. I left my hat at the hotel, my water bottle at the gate, and kept my camera firmly clutched in my hot little hand.
Shortly inside the gate I came across a German woman who had not
heeded the warnings. A young monkey had grabbed onto the hanging strap from her backpack and quickly scampered up her back onto her shoulder. That was all well and good until said monkey proceeded to try to eat her hair. (Note to self: When visiting monkeys, do not use shampoo that smells like fruit.)
She was pretty calm about the whole thing, and a friendly guide helped extricate her from the monkey’s clutches. As I was showing her the pictures I had taken of her with the animal on
her head, the same monkey jumped onto my arm. OK, fun story for the blog, and then the little #$@#*! bit me!
Very not cool.
The same guide quietly said to me, “They have disinfectant at the gate; you should have them put it on you.” With visions of the Richard Preston book “The Hot Zone” about Ebola virus transmitted through monkey bites very much on my mind, I did exactly that.
Once back in my room I washed my arm with soap and water and applied Neosporin. (Never leave home without it.) My arm hasn’ t fallen off yet, and I’m not bleeding out of my tear ducts (though my eyes are a little bloodshot…) so I think I’ll live.
Not to anthropomorphize these animals any more than people already do, they do share some traits with humans: they are cute when little, they pretty much ignore you as adults, but the teenagers can become furry juvenile delinquents.
There is also a Hindu temple on the grounds as well as a graveyard used my the local villagers. Monkeys wander freely through both.
And if you have the idea that monkeys are not intelligent, just
Do not use fruit scented shampoo when visiting monkeys.
watch a baby monkey hide a bit of food under a coconut shell, probably to keep it away from his older brother. Bali, May 21, 2010
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