Monday, November 5, 2012

Ubud Part One: Macacaque Monkey Forest

Ubud is the cultural capital of Bali.  The city recently became even more well known thanks to the bestselling book Eat Pray Love.  In this memoir the author faces a semi-mid-life crisis, and spends some time in Ubud seeking answers from a Balinese medicine man.  

A French gentleman Ryan had dived with in Tulamben recommended a guesthouse in the city that turned out to be perfect for us.  Spacious bungalows faced a swimming pool and breakfast was served on our private patio each morning. 
{banana pancake, tropical fruit with lime and black tea}

On our first afternoon in town we strolled through Ubud’s MonkeyForest.   

The area is home to approximately six  hundred Macacaques who calmly roam the vicinity until they find tourists hiding bananas in their pockets.  Then they get crazy.  After the hissing we saw, I won’t be crossing a wild monkey anytime soon.  To borrow the words of my guidebook: “The monkeys are nothing like the doe-eyed animal on the forest’s brochure.”  

Except these guys.
And even the ones that aren't as docile are just as cute.

We especially loved the baby who clung to its mommy's belly when she changed locations.

I kept my distance in case of a monkey attack.  
The Monkey Forest also houses three Hindu temples.  After donning the appropriate attire (sarongs and sashes) we entered one of the temples, just as a ceremonial procession made its way through.  
{Added bonus that the sarongs and sashes were Oregon Duck colors!}

In the evening we took in a traditional Barong and Keris dance.   
The story is one of the most famous in Balinese culture and the dancing was more unique and entrancing than any other we’ve seen. 
What those women do with their eyes!  Wow.

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