I made numerous trips to Bali from 1991 through 1993. On my first trip I was on a non-stop flight from Jakarta to Bali. The plane landed and I got out to explore this exotic, strange new island. Something didn't seem right. My Indonesian language skills were not good at that time so I wasn't able to read the signs or even ask for help. I can't remember how, but after some time I realized that the direct flight actually does make stops and I was able to board the plane again before it continued on to Bali.

Bali was quite a change from Jakarta. I took several tours around the island that first year. The island was beautiful with its numerous 1,000 year-old Hindu temples as well as 1,000 year-old rice terraces as far as you could see. While driving around the island it became obvious that the women of Bali were experts at carrying large, heavy loads on top of their heads. My guide said that's why the Balinese are so short.

One place in Bali that I enjoyed and visited a few different times was the Monkey Forest. Monkeys were numerous in Bali and seem to act like the unofficial guards at all the Hindu temples. The Monkey Forest was a good place for tourists to interact with the monkeys. My first time there I noticed the guides trying to coax a monkey onto a tourist's shoulder with a piece of food so they could take a picture.

Apparently the monkeys learned fast because on my next trip to Monkey Forest the monkeys needed no coaxing. People had to be careful not to stand still too long in the forest because a monkey would run up their backs and sit on their shoulders. The ladies let out a panicked scream and dropped to the ground when this happened. I enjoyed waiting for the next bus of unsuspecting tourists to arrive.

Traditional Balinese Dance.

Some of Bali's beautiful scenery in 1992: Hindu temples, active volcano, rice terraces.
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Part 2: Hindu temples, Mokey Forest, tree bats.

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Pacific Orient said...

At some Balinese temples, monkeys have become notorious for stealing visitors' eyewear or jewelry. Quickly though, a local will come up to you and offer to get the items back for a small "tip". Once paid, a thrown banana and a few words to the monkey and your belongings are returned. It's a thriving business in some places!

EW Johnson said...

LOL. It sounds like the locals and the monkeys are working together.