Bali - Monkey Business in Ubud Edition

Ubud is a town in the middle of the Balinese island, set up in the mountains, nestled amongst picturesque rice paddies, overflowing with cultural heritage - you get the idea. 

This was one of the days we got a driver for the day, and went exploring. 

The even better news was that Egi came up with us again, with his own car and driver, so I tagged along with him, allowing more space in the squishy van for my long-legged friends on the long drive up. 

One of the main highlights in Ubud is what one calls the "Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary", another one of those things that often features prominently on any tourist brochure of Bali.

It's a lovely jungle/temple setting, dealing with the infestation of home to the long-tailed Balinese macaque. 

They're assholes.

Like, total assholes.

They're cute, but they have rabies, and they're also assholes.

Did I mention the rabies?

No touchy.

However many decades of tourists oggling at them has also made them supremely indifferent to humans. 

My camera clearly doesn't know how to deal with daylight and canopies, sigh. 

Whoa, tree.

-CCR's Run Through The Jungle plays in the background-

A short walk from the giant tree leads us to a temple snugged up against a cliff face, more forest and drowning in ancient trees. 


What temple is this, you may ask? Who/what is it for?

Well, from all the boobs and dicks lying around, I'm gonna hesitate a guess that it's a fertility temple of some kind. 


oh dear. 

I never said they weren't cute. 

ALSO, check out this cheeky asshole tucking into the snackbar while the park guards have their back turned...


The tourists play with these things like they're pets - this guy here held up food until one parkour-ed up him and got a literal monkey asshole in his face. Meanwhile, a group of Scandinavian tourists were taking pictures of their little boy with ones on his shoulder until he gOT BITTEN AND THEY LAUGHED AND OH MY GOD YOUR KID MIGHT HAVE RABIES NOW WHAT THE HELL?!

Today, in the monkey beauty salon...



Best thing about travelling is seeing landscapes that literally don't exist in your world. It's like a valley of green - and I live in green, but this is a different green. Amazing stuff. Camera doesn't do it justice. I think my camera also has issues with depth perception. 

This monkey forgot how to monkey. 

Leeet's dooo the jungle waarp agaaaain. 

Next up: what Balinese tourist mecca is complete without a spot of crappy shopping?

None, I tell you!

With this in mind, we spent a little time at this bizarre little maze of a market. It had a bit of everything, from crappy-Chinese-style knockoffs to mountains of groceries. 

With a tight fit.

And then it started to pour. Of course.
But besides a little sprinkle on our first day here, this is the only rain we got - and considering we spent a lot of this day inside or in a car, I think that's a pretty good deal in an equatorial rainforest environment. 

Behind the scenes. 

In the afternoon, the magic of having Egi with us and his wonderful Indonesian-speaking skills opened up doors previously unknown to us. 

This door included a tour and tasting of the Teba Sari coffee plantation.

A tour from our guide - the plantation grows all kinds of beans and spices.

Roasting coffee.
Grinding coffee, old-school style. 
I like to think of myself as a foodie - I know what the vast majority of fresh produce looks like and where it comes from...I confess I don't think I've ever seen a vanilla plant? Or cinnamon, or anything like that? Kind of ridiculous, really. 

Above all, this place is known for its Luwak coffee. 

It's pretty shit.

No, really.

A Luwak is a kind of nocturnal monkey/panda type creature - which means we couldn't see it much as it was snoring its head off.


 So it what it does is forage through the undergrowth and eats coffee beans whole - and when they come out the other end, people harvest them, clean the beans off and grind the and make them into coffee. 
Test taste time!

This is a crappy photo but Josh's kid-at-a-candy-store look is worth it. 

The Luwak Coffee is percolated through this shiny new-age contraption thingy (I really know my coffee, as you can tell). 

The finished product. 

Gale takes the shitty plunge. 
It was actually pretty good? I don't like coffee because it's really bitter, and I don't like sugar in things so the whole concept is kind of dead on arrival for me. But this was straight and black, and it tasted like normal coffee, but completely void of that bitter edge in the back of your mouth, it was really strange. And quite nice. 

I congratulate you, Luwak digestive system!

We then tasted all the other deliciousness the plantation had to offer - coffee and teas of all types and flavours, from dreamy milky coconut coffee to fuchsia mangosteen peel tea that claimed to cure you of everything from boils to prostate cancer. 
Oh lordie.

Got a bit excited in the shop. 

Next we visited a temple just on the outskirts of Ubud.

Gotta cover up. 

Try to look less evil, Jonno.

As we were standing there getting out own photo taken by a nice bloke off the street, a pile of Chinese tourists came over and demanded photos of us and literally had arguments with people in the street over us. 

They were lovely, but it was still amusing. 

I unfortunately don't know what this temple is called, but it was a really lovely, peaceful place to wander around in and soak up some nice thoughts. 

Temple break room.

I don't know what's sillier, the expression or the canang sari just plopped on its head. 

After the long drive back to our villa, it was a rest night.

I think that was the evening we bought a heap of junk food, piled on our cane couch, hooked up the TV to the DVD and watched the copy of The Edge of Tomorrow that Jonno bought from a bloke on the street for $1. 

Needless to say, it was fuzzy and people were walking in front of the screen and we didn't understand a thing. But it was good.

Until next time.

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