MONKEY SEE, MONKEY DOO DOO
More from Bali
The smell of a monkey is noticeably pungent. Particularly when said monkey is sitting on one’s shoulder holding one’s right earlobe in one paw and begging for peanuts with the other.
Fortunately one had the foresight to purchase a bag of peanuts at the entrance to the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest. It’s about an hour’s drive north of Denpasar, the Balinese capital and a pleasant excursion/diversion while we wait to board the Aegean Odyssey for a cruise through the Java Sea to Borobudur. There are hundreds of government-protected monkeys living here in the monkey forest and they are all accomplished panhandlers. You will be importuned and beseeched by moms with babies clinging to their bellies as well as a host of gangly teenagers, instantly identifiable by their goofy teenage antics. And then there are The Big Guys – alpha males with grizzled muzzles. They give off a Good Ol’ Boy vibe as they saunter about like Mafia dons checking out the action.
These are marmosets – charcoal grey and quite small as monkeys go. The largest would be about the size of a Corgi – if a Corgi had long legs, a tail the length of its body and an intelligent look on its face. The monkey faces are unnervingly human, with large moist eyes and a portfolio of expressions that make you want to strike up a conversation.
Don’t. The monkeys are gentle but somewhat unpredictable. That’s why all visitors to the Monkey Forest are accompanied by a guide – most often a diminutive Balinese woman in a blue dress who graciously provides basic human/monkey etiquette tips: Don’t talk loudly or make sudden moves. Don’t raise your arms in what could be construed as a threatening gesture. Let the monkeys make the overtures.
Fear not, the monkeys will.
Once a monkey figures out you’ve got peanuts, you’re toast – but your blue-garbed guardian will make sure they don’t make real pests of themselves. Besides, you wouldn’t want to miss the other attraction of the Alas Kedaton Monkey Forest.
These are not your inky-dinky, sparrow-sized Canadian bats. Think of bats on steroids. These are Fruit Bats (family Pteropodidae) with the wingspan of a large seagull and a furry head that looks oddly canine. A full grown Fruit Bat looks like a Jack Russell terrier wearing a cape.
Fortunately, they’re accurately named – they eat only fruit, not tourists. For several thousand rupiah (or about two bucks) you can have your picture taken wearing a silly hat and holding a bat.
Don’t be shy. They smell much better than marmosets.
READ MORE BALI, BANGKOK AND BEYOND
ENTRY 1: FROM BALI
ENTRY 2: MORE FROM BALI
ENTRY 3: CROSSING THE EQUATOR
ENTRY 4: FROM SINGAPORE
ENTRY 5A: HO CHI MINH CITY
ENTRY 5B: IN VIETNAM, DON’T ORDER THE MUTT-ON
ENTRY 5C: TRAFFIC TRAUMA – VIETNAMESE STYLE
ENTRY 6: AN INTERESTING SIDE TRIP
ENTRY 7: THAILAND: A FRUITFUL DESTINATION
ENTRY 8: AH, SHANGRI-LA. NO, REALLY
ENTRY 9: HOCKEY IN THE TROPICS
BALI, BANGKOK AND BEYOND
Arthur Black travelled on a Voyages to Antiquity cruise called Bali, Bangkok and Beyond hosted by Exclusive Tours. Read all about his adventures on board the Aegean Odyssey, a modern, slimmed-down cruise ship (only 350 passengers) making its way from Bali to Bangkok by way of Singapore, Saigon, Sihanoukville and Angkor Wat.
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