Bali Day 1: Attack monkeys

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Our first full day in Bali was action packed. We started out bright and early in search of a surf spot for Chris. Based on Bali’s reputation, this sounds like it should be an easy task, but with the extremely calm, flat water it was more challenging than expected.

Thursday night Chris gathered a list of potential spots in anticipation of some Friday morning surfing. We set out early on Friday to check out the first one. Nothing. Moving on to candidate number two, still nothing. Instead of going for a surf we took advantage of the perfectly flat water to do some snorkeling. While the marine life was not the most exciting that we have seen lately, the underwater landscape was incredible.

Stop number three led us farther down the road, and finally on to some actual surf, a reef break that looked really far out. I could barely make out the line of surfers waiting out in the water, but Chris was determined to go.

After slathering on a ridiculous amount of sunblock and putting on my rash guard, I lamented the fact that I forgot my hat in India. The sun was intense. I grabbed the boogie board and fins and followed Chris out towards the ocean.

Because of rough surf over the reef, we walked way down the beach then paddled, or in my case kicked, out through a channel before swimming north to the wave. I have no idea how far we went, but I imagine that we swam out about an hour. Finally, about halfway there, I could see tiny colored specks bobbing up and down in the ocean. Chris was right, there were surfers out there.

As I hung out and watched Chris surf for a bit, it was a constant battle to stay out behind the lineup and far enough north to be near the big group. The current was strong! I swam and swam just to stay in one place.

Finally, as I began to worry that I needed to re-sunblock, Chris said that he was ready to go in. Luckily, the swim back in started out pretty easy as the current was pulling inland and back towards the channel that we came through.

Maybe a little too hard south. We overshot the channel and suddenly found ourselves still a ways out from the beach, but in inches deep water over a sharp reef. Um, not ideal. Too sharp to stand on, almost too shallow to paddle over. We slowly and patiently made progress back north until the water became a bit deeper. Whew.

I was so happy to be back in deep water. I have a knack for cutting my knees on reef and once again managed to do in my right knee, just days after it finished healing from a Maldives reef injury. Figures. When we finally got out of the water, nearly three hours after we began this adventure, I was ready for some water and some sunblock.

Our next stop, for what was supposed to be lunch, was to a Bali must see, Rock Bar, for a sunset dinner. After just barely being let in due to Chris’ board shorts and Rock Bar’s dress code, we descended a funicular to the famous cliffside bar and requested a table in the shade.

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No dice. It was completely open and sunny. Furthermore, we were disappointed to see that they only served appetizers and that small bottles of water cost $9. With nearly two hours until sunset, we decided to eat and run giving our seats up to others in the long line of people hoping to get in. The food was not stellar and we were far too thirsty to quench our thirst on $9 beers for Chris or $12 mocktails for me.

Uluwatu Temple ended up being our alternate sunset destination. Perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the ocean, the draw of this temple is it’s location more than anything noteworthy about the temple itself.

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As we walked through the temple complex, I noticed that there were stray flip flops everywhere. Strange, but I thought that possibly the uneven ground was causing an unusual number of flip flop blowouts?

We climbed up and down trails and stairs Chris actively avoiding monkeys as I indulged in more monkey photography than was really necessary. I don’t know why I’m such a sucker for taking pictures of monkeys, something about the combination of their human-like characteristics and dog-like behavior always draws me in.

I began to notice that these were more ‘friendly’ monkeys than I have seen at other temples as I noted a few young Aussie guys with monkeys on their shoulders, unable to remove them. That would not fly with me. It seemed to make them a bit uneasy as well.

I tried to brush it off and continued my usual, from somewhat afar, monkey photography. As I clicked away taking pictures of one monkey, I suddenly heard Chris shout ‘Brit, he’s after your shoe!’

Huh? I was initially confused, he was right in front of me. As I felt a tiny hand grab my ankle, I realized that he was not the subject of my photo, but instead his friend.

My heart was suddenly racing. I took a few steps, hoping that he would let go, but the monkey still clung to my leg.

What is the protocol for monkey removal? And if you remove them aggressively will their friends come to their defense?

Chris and I both started ‘ch-ing’ the monkey, the sound we make to our dogs as a ‘knock it off, that’s not ok’ warning. No dice, the monkey did not understand the ‘ch’s’ the way Duke would.

I continued to do my ‘get this monkey off of my leg dance’ as a bunch of people looked on. Still unsure what to do, Chris finally shouted a firm ‘No.’

The monkey released my leg and gave up pursuit of my flip flop. A wave of relief washed over me.

Needless to say, I was on edge for the rest of our temple visit. I laughed at Chris in Nepal when he was freaked out by the monkeys, but I take that back now. Chris has been monkey-averse since his Tanzanian monkey attack, but I didn’t fully grasp his lingering fear until I had my own monkey encounter.

What a day!

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2 comments
  1. Sounds like quite an adventure you had, heh. Bali is a beautiful place! And yes wild monkeys are super mischievous; the ones in Singapore have been known to steal cameras and even water bottles, so trail runners here have got to be extra careful.

  2. Jena said:

    Holy crap!! A monkey grabbed your leg! That would freak me the hell out as well! I want to see some pictures of these crazy monkeys!

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