Welcome to Ubud

I was really looking forward to Ubud, having heard only great things from everyone I’ve known whose visited.  We had a really nice, informative driver take us up to Ubud who made a pit stop at his favorite tea and coffee plantation.  We were led on a tour of the gardens where the different herbs, trees, plants were identified and we saw the Luak, a small cat-like animal, that eats coffee beans and poops them out fermented but the bean itself remains undigested.  The outer layer of the fermented bean is removed and the bean is roasted to produce some of the world’s most expensive coffee.  We tasted all of the coffees and teas that they produce there, including the poop brew and they were all incredibly delicious.  Lemongrass Tea, Vanilla Coffee, Coconut Coffee – so good!  We all liked the poop brew as well, it was a really nice strong coffee. 

As we walked down the streets of Ubud we were completely charmed by the stylish boutiques, restaurants and galleries.  Our hotel was up the road from the Monkey Forest, so we thought we’d take a quick walk through.  Having already been accosted by the monkeys at the Ulu Watu Temple, I felt less naive and ready to stand my ground.  We couldn’t even get as close as the ticket booth and the monkeys were out in force, trolling for bananas.  I bought a bundle and managed to throw them at the monkeys but pretty much one bully got most of them AND this was all before we entered the actual park.  Monkeys 2 Evie 0

Just as we walked into the Monkey Forest, a couple past by us.  The woman was shaking and trying to exit without getting close to the monkeys on the path.  We tried to offer some calm words to her and she turned to us wide-eyed and said "No, I am completely afraid of them".   Perhaps this should have given us pause....

Inside the forest there were more Grey Tailed monkeys than I’ve ever seen of all sizes.  The majority sat in clusters, grooming and watching their babies play but the alpha males bullied tourists walking by for treats, water bottles, pretty much anything.  We did fairly well, finding relaxed groups of Mom monkeys with their babies who didn’t seem to mind us snapping away.  After laughing at the first American tourists we’d seen in a while being accosted by the monkeys (the guy had been teasing them), we embarked down a mostly empty path.  James was shooting a cute monkey sitting in the path and somehow lost his hat.  How he lost it, is up for debate; did the monkey grab it off his head? Maybe.  Either way the monkey quickly made his way up a tree with the hat and started chewing on it.  We tried lulling him down (it was a new hat!) and at some point he no longer took kindly to our efforts.  He growled and suddenly 3 monkeys appeared around us.  Kelsey decided that it was high time she left this scene and proceeded to use James and I as human shields to make her escape but in the process knocked into a loud metal gate.  The noise from the gate appeared to spread word of our dispute to all of the monkeys in the surrounding area, who started making their way over.  At this point the three of us (pushing and shoving each other out of the way) ran back the way we had come.  Now fearful that the monkeys might spread the word to attack us (likely…), we tried to make our way out of the park.  Only to come face to face with a mob of about 40 monkeys, walking towards us for food (?), an unseen enemy (?).  With the assurances of a guard that we could continue down the path to exit without being bitten, we ran out of the Monkey Forest.