The day of my birthday we hired a driver for 10 hours, for less than $50 USD by the way, to take us to Ubud which is about an hour north of where we were staying in Canggu. The drive was pretty, we got to see a lot of the country side and how the citizens outside of tourists villages live and work. Our driver was very nice, he talked… a lot – but was very informative of Bali life in his conversation.
We made a plan to see the Monkey Forest, Rice Terraces, Luwak Coffee Plantation, and shopping. I also wanted to go to the famous Yoga Barn and the popular temple up there – but they weren’t available/we didn’t have enough time but we got to see a lot and it was an overall wonderful day.
Our driver recommended we stop at a “traditional balinese housing complex” on our way to see the monkeys. Walking through it was fascinating, the complex is for one family, and the traditional western home that we all know and feel comforted by was broken apart into segmented rooms. Each room is separate: of course the temple, but also the kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc etc etc.
Here is the entrance into the complex:
And then the kitchen, where the lady of the home was cooking you can see the clay pots she was using over the legit fire and stone stove:
An actual water well…
This is where/how they kept their chickens. These are for eating eventually…
Look how skinny, poor things. To get myself past it, I had to keep reminding myself that its more sad that how fat and overstuffed our chickens are.
And these are for fighting… which was quintuply times more sad. Everyone is open about their cockfighting and breeding. My heart breaks even in the most magical of places.
You’ll recognize the hat, I know that is probably not what it is called, but they were wearing them all over the place there. Also, this hat, as I so disrespectfully keep calling it, was sitting in one of the open aired bedrooms.
We weren’t given a full tour, so I can’t tell you what these next couple of rooms were for, but aren’t they so colorful?
This is the family’s temple… every family has one.
How cute is this mini Ogoh Ogoh? Two boys were running around playing with it acting like they were carrying it in a parade. Unfortunately, those photos were too whitewashed to edit. If you missed the conversation about the Ogoh Ogohs, see post one.
Poor pup, it was hot. He did have a water dish, I don’t know if was full or when it was last changed. He was chained to this tree, at least he had shade. As you can tell – I have a definite super soft spot for the babies.
Another colorful, mysterious room.
So this was extremely fascinating to see. But then I started wondering if this traditional family complex may have actually been a tourist spot. Not that that is a negative point, but not only did we donate 20,000 IDR to the elderly gentleman of the home, but then an entire bus load of tourists started coming through. That and the fact that our driver recommended it, combined with the point that we were in the middle of a village where I didn’t see too many other homes… I just felt like perhaps this tradition wasn’t as well kept as the driver made it seem. It was beautiful none the less.
Enter Monkeys in the Monkey Forest:
First, a few rules.
And then we feed them…
I definitely got monkey butt in my face, thankfully I didn’t contract any diseases… that I know of, and look at the other monkeys just sitting around, munching their bananas, watching the show.
And then we walk through the forest, 2.5 hours of getting the absolute pleasure of being with these beauties. It was so amazing. There were mommy monkeys, baby monkeys, daddy monkeys just all playing, jumping, eating, grooming, fighting, snuggling, swinging etc etc etc just being monkeys.
This was the closest we got into a Temple the whole time, and it was closed, and it was in the Monkey Forest.
So the baby here had found a little snack, and he was getting ruthlessly picked on by the older monkeys. (Note the gigantic daddy laying and just watching.) It got to the point they wouldn’t leave the baby alone, so the daddy got up, RAN right in front of me making a bunch of noise, broke up the fight, grabbed the baby, gave him back his snack, and carried him to safety. It was intense. I would not be one to cross that daddy at all.
This guy was HUGE, the photo does him absolutely no justice.
He was cute, by himself, hanging out, and let me take lots of photos of him.
I don’t know if he was making fun of me or not – but I had no idea he was eating.
This is one of the forest employees. He was messing with him quite a while. They were playing, I am pretty sure this wasn’t a violent exchange. At least I don’t think so…
… because then they parted ways with just a smile and a treat…
…and he was happy with that.
We walked all the way down to the bottom of the forest at the same time all of the monkeys were headed that way too. Looked like it was feeding time or some kind of ritual taking place, because one after one they just walked the railing all headed the same way.
This is my favorite moment from the time spent with them. She’s just a momma feeding her baby.
And this is my second favorite moment – this guy seemed so young, and he was all by himself, and just sitting there.
There are little shops inside the forest for snacks, drinks, and souvenirs. Apparently there are monkeys who will go snag the merchandise. But also – some monkeys who just visit for some social interaction. This was so sweet. The man was just sitting there playing with him… the moment was not short lived, making me think it was not the first this interaction had taken place. It was like they knew each other.
Before anyone gets offended that they turned a forest into a tourist attraction – these monkeys were in no way being kept for entertainment. They were able to leave the forest, and often did in the mornings when they would nag the local village markets for breakfast or try to snag their merchandise. They keep the forest super clean, they are all supervised by the employees for the reason of the tourists to prevent abuse, they all seemed to enjoy their life and they were all comfortable being around us. Everyone respected their space (all but one guy, who definitely got what was coming to him as the daddy monkey tried to snag his camera, swat it out of his face, and yelled at him). The entry fee was not much, but went towards the upkeep. AND they monitored them, they knew exactly how many monkeys they had, how many families there were, where those families lived, and the breakdown of adults, teenagers, and babies.
Moving on, sadly.
We had Forest Cat Poop Coffee at the Luwak Coffee Plantation. It is the most expensive coffee in the world. It was okay, strong black coffee, not worth $50 USD per pound. I didn’t buy any and actually preferred their flavored, non poop, coffee. But, we did see the process – Forest cats do eat the coffee beans, poop them out, and they are roasted, ground, and brewed. It was an experience and it came with a nice view of the rice fields.
Rice Fields. I was under impressed… other photos I’ve seen were much more impressive and got me wondering where the “better” view was they were hiding from me. I think it was just the quick stop view. Still pretty, and we saw a tourist tempt fate, walk too close to the edge, and fall down one level. That was not cool. She screamed, her family screamed… She was okay in case anyone is wondering. Just a couple of knee scratches. But she won’t be walking the edge of anything any time soon.
This photo is iconic because is memorializes a moment when a little boy followed me all the way back to the car from the rice terrace view. He was begging me to buy post cards from him. Post cards I already bought from another little boy to help their school funding. He insisted they were different post cards and that I needed ten more post cards in my life. I must have told him “no thank you,” 50 times in that 5 minute walk back to the car. The heat and humidity building, and my blood sugar continuing to fall (it had been over five hours since I’d eaten) and I began to get somewhat agitated. So I looked at him, “how do you say ‘no’ in balinese?”
Bali boy: “yes.”
Me: “no, how do you say the word “no” in your language.”
Bali boy: “yes, you say it like ‘yes.” He continued to beg.
Granted he got me to laugh and like him a little more and be a little less agitated. He was persistent, and would one day make a very aggravating salesman. The driver told me, once we got back to the car, the funds were definitely not going to school funding.
This was a poster we saw while eating lunch. We hunted down the store that sold the shirts for Ariel. It is pretty awesome.
We got fish pedicures. It felt like sticking your feet in really aggressive carbonated water. It tickled. Majorly. And was super awesome.
Then we shopped, we haggled, we bartered in the market and made it back to Canggu just in time for dinner and a birthday surprise from the hubby and The Chillhouse staff.
Catch up if you’ve missed any of these bali posts: post one, post two, post three. Catch up before we wrap things up with a couple more posts: a tour of The Chillhouse, last trip to the beach, and an ongoing maternity shoot.