Revenge of the Monkeys: Ubud, Indonesia

In my quest to be more "open," I try to give people at least two chances. In this case, it was monkeys. Monkeys/humans, poh-tay-toh/poh-tah-toh.

Ubud has a few things going for it: it boasts cooking schools and a cool respite from the south of the island, making it unnecessary for aircon at night. Yes, I adapted to using 'aircon' vs 'AC.' I have no explanation for my behavior. I found out, only after leaving Ubud, that the area was made famous by Eat, Pray, Love, a book that struck me as really stupid precisely after paragraph number one. It  wasn't until paragraph four that I decided to chuck the book, so I have no idea what the writer did in this town.


My exploration of Ubud was limited; T and I spent a few days making it back to Nusa Lembongan for dives with manta rays (somewhat of a failed attempt) followed by our return to the big island (Bali), leaving me with only about three days to stir up the crazy in Ubud, including one day that would be spent at a cooking school.

First stop: Monkey Forest. Yea... more monkeys. I know, I know. I know what you're thinking. I should have learned my lesson. But they're supposed to be so much like us humans! With fur and other cute things like tails and big eyes. The other two travel buds had already walked the grounds with limited drama, watching only other folks get harassed by the creatures. This didn't really settle my hesitation. Nevertheless, T, S and I set off for Monkey Forest, which is just down the road from our guesthouse, armed with only a camera. Earrings, watch, necklace, and any other shiny items were left behind.

The tour started innocently enough. I observed the furry guys from afar while they played, attacked or stole goods. One woman was dumb enough to have left on necklaces, rings, and dangling earrings. I stared at her with a dumbfounded expression, hiding nothing of what was going through my mind, as two little monkeys climbed over her head and picked one earring out of her ear. While one thief taunts her with the stolen item, she caves and gives away her other earring to culprit number two. My thought process is this: if she can get away with just one stolen earring, given her Christmas tree status, I should have no problem, right?

The forest is massive. After about an hour of meandering, I had had enough of watching other people let monkeys climb on them or take pictures with a whole family of monkeys, resulting in nothing out of the ordinary, except for Ms. Christmas Tree, whose fault was all her own. I want to like the monkeys--and I want them to like me back! With resolve, I hand my camera over to S, "Mind taking a picture of me with these little guys?" I edge just a touch closer to a few monkeys hanging out in a large pagoda, just moments after other people had their picture snapped... in that very spot. Carefully, though, I keep my distance.


Here we go again. You've got to be kidding me! The furry monster is yelling at me but does not stop there. Wikki grabs a hold of my brand new t-shirt and will not let go. Swear words and three-letter acronyms are swirling in my head at this point. Meanwhile, I look up for help from S, and she is doubled over, maroon in the face. She can't even project sounds of laughter. She is choking. Laughing. Choking. Then trying not to laugh. Too late, man, I see you laughing at my despair. Seriously?

I attempt to tug away to no avail. There is now an audience observing my distress but no one is actually doing anything. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Wikki is still not done. Shrieking and not letting go, he hurtles his face toward me. Oh no. Oh, blasted mother of...son of a... Monkey teeth sink into my brand new top, chomping out a hole the size of a quarter, before Wikki finally releases his iron grip. S still can't even speak and she's having trouble staying upright, just choked with laughter. She just hands over my camera, which captured my moments of glory, at the whim of a monkey, into digital eternity.


  1. This story...I just can't get over it. I was just watching a youtube video today about monkeys in Bali. They are so smart and can be mean as well.

    1. Hahaha. Have you been harassed by monkeys before? Or are you one of the lucky ones that don't have experiences like mine? :)