If cocks were the order of the day in Jimbaran, then dogs are the main dish of Ubud. Each homestead has one, and they roam at night snarling barking, and occasionally fighting – breaking the silence and waking the tourists throughout the night. A fitful sleep, once again for me – I am beginning to wonder if a set of ear plugs might be a worthwhile investment. We were brought banana pancakes, mixed fruit, egg butties and tea for breakfast. Nicely fed, we got our stuff together to see the monkeys. No hats, sunglasses, bags or water, just a camera and some money – those cheeky monkeys will be into everything in their search for free food.
We walked down Monkey Forest Road, descending the hill I had expected the Bemo of yesterday to expire upon, to the Monkey Sanctuary at the bottom. A large forest area populated with large trees and lush vegetation and several troupes of Macac monkeys. Inquisitive and yet not really bothered with the humans they can spot bananas at a hundred paces and make a beeline for those tourists ready to spend 200,000 Rp for a bunch. They will climb on you to get them, so you have to be quick in handing them out. They will also try to ransack your bags and pick your pockets if they sniff something tasty inside!!
There are three temples in the forest of varying size and importance as well as a multitude of dragon, lion and monkey sculptures. At various points around the path you spy rangers chopping up fruit and ready to talk to you about the monkeys and the forest. And everywhere you look there are monkeys – big males that rule with brute force, females carrying little babies and juveniles joyfully play fighting. Cute, so cute, the kiddies loved them and of course wanted to give them food and cuddle them. You can explain to them till you are blue in the face that they are wild and can be dangerous, but they won’t listen – far more effective are the snarls from the monkeys themselves when they got too close; fortunately these kind of encounters were sparse, but did give them a fright nonetheless.
We wandered round taking it all in, and when we descended the steps to the water temple, Oskar was blessed with a personal grooming from one of the young monkeys – which he found really exciting, his face lighting up with joy mingled with a little apprehension all the same.
Of course, all the boys wanted to have the same experience too, but the monkeys found Oskar far more interesting and he had another 2 visits before we left the forest. As we arrived at the central court where there was a little water hole, the young monkeys were amusing themselves in the pool, climbing the little tree overhanging the water and dive-bombing the other monkeys passing underneath. All around, children and adults of all ages laughed at the spectacle and we captured some of their japes on video – to be published on YouTube when we get the chance. Link to follow.
Leaving the shady forest we climbed up the hill to the tourist office to check out where to find flights before going for lunch at the “best suckling pig” warung in Ubud. It was really good I have to say, though the kids found it “too spicy” and yet again contented themselves with boiled rice and the odd bit of unspiced meat. We left the restaurant and bought some postcards to send before trying to find flights to Flores for the next day (ha ha hah haa ha). The travel agent said no flights available until 28th and then only one seat at 1.5m Rp (or £125). Based on that information we decided that Flores was off, and we would head to Lombok the next day instead. Back at Gandra House we got on the net and the phone and spoke with the man about getting a bus to Sengigi on Lombok – 240,000 Rp for the 5 of us, Mateo doesn’t pay. It would leave at 7am the next day so we started packing again leaving only the bare essentials.
We wandered around Ubud to find a cash point and a restaurant for dinner. We found a small place at reasonable prices and gorged ourselves on Noodles, rice, soup and satay. We returned to the house to finish the packing and get an early night. Midway through preparing the beds I was untangling the mosquito net above the boys’ bed when disaster struck. Whilst pulling the cord holding the net up free I inadvertently collided with the blades of the ceiling fan rotating at full speed. Struck with a hammer blow on the back of my wrist I got off the bed with an anguished cry to discover that I had a deep gash some 3cm long oozing blood and looking like it was going to need stitches. Remaining calm, though it hurt like hell, I told Tania what I needed from the first aid kit whilst the kids gathered around chanting “Can I see it, can I see it”, and then “Oh my god, does it hurt Daddy” (Yes it bloomin well does) and then “You’re very brave, I would be screaming if it was me!” (yes, that’s an understatement!)
Anticeptic spray, swabs, compress, streri-strips and a bandage later the wound was dressed and pulled together in the hope that it would heal nicely and I wouldn’t need to go to the emergency clinic for stitches. The pain was just a dull ache and I could move my fingers and wrist without any sharp stabs and so the likelihood of having broken or fractured any bones was remote. Taking a Dolipran to take the edge of the pain, we finally finished the packing, well Tania did, and we settled down for our early night. We all felt a little guilty I guess; me for being so careless, Tania for having tied up the net, and Oskar for having wound the cord around – however, the drama was definitely lessened thanks to my calmness and Nanny’s insistence on passing on her First Aid knowledge to each of her children. Thanks Mum xx
Surprisingly, I slept well, the pain having been stopped by the drugs – it was only the dogs barking that disturbed us, again! Tomorrow off to Lombok, bus then boat then bus again – time to charge those gaming devices again.