Day 214: Rumble In The Jungle

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

That disclaimer will make a lot more sense as the tale of today unfolds. I can even say no animals were harmed in the making of day 214, because they “definitely” weren’t. The first half of the day was very laid back. We stayed by the pool until mid afternoon, before going out to visit the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. That’s when things got a little exciting. We ate out a couple times, and Sarah and I booked up a day trip in the evening. On the whole it was a good day, now sit back and relax as I tell you all about it.

• Just one minute before the alarm clock rang Ann duxbury was at our door waking us from our sleep. She was stood on our porch with a little smile on her face as she bobbed on the spot. There’s something about a happy morning person when you’ve just woken up that makes you slightly peeved. Just where do they find the energy. I guess either way we’d have been annoyed, as in 60 seconds time the alarm would have rang at the unorthodox time of 9:23am. That’s right, the previous evening when I’d set it I didn’t play by the rules. Who says the alarm has to be set on a multiple of ten or five. I play by my own rules!

• It only took us 3 minutes to get out of bed and dressed. Then the four of us went to the resort’s restaurant for breakfast. The all inclusive meal was great, we got so much for our money, and the staff were being extra attentive. Any time we were running low on our coffee, a boy would run over to top us up. The staff were so friendly towards us that at times it felt as though they were scared of us. I didn’t like it. I’d much rather have them crack a joke or two at my expense, I’d feel a lot more comfortable then. I’m not used to all the attention. After eating we spent the next 3 to 4 hours around the pool.

• At one point I returned to the room to catch up with the blog. By the end of the day I had done it, I was no longer behind on them. For the most part I alternated between the sun beds and the pool. Like usual Sarah and I messed around in it. I ran around as she sat in my shoulders, and I swam along the bottom in an attempt to see how long I could hold my breath. Ann got in eventually, but like most mums, she didn’t want to get her hair wet. Sarah didn’t take any notice and continued to splash her. The pair of us then raced her back and forth doing lengths of the 10 metre long pool. Around 2 – 3pm we returned to our rooms to shower and dry off.

• That process didn’t take too long, so while we were waiting, Sarah put on a tv show. She managed to get through one minute of it before Ann was at our door. Before leaving the resort we had to get directions. We wanted to go to the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary, but didn’t know the way. The young female receptionist told us it was only a 7 minute walk from the resort, and how right she was. We followed a long cobble path, where motorbikes overtook us constantly. It was so bumpy that the riders struggled to stay on. When we reached the end we came out on Monkey Forest Road. To our right was the entrance to the sanctuary.

• We each had to pay 20,000 rupiah to get in, and I necked the can of coke I’d just bought before entering. The reason for this was because of the monkeys penchant for anything shiny. We didn’t have to go far before we met the first monkey of the day. He was fairly big, and sat on the floor just inside the entrance. He twisted his head around, observing all the tourists that passed as he chewed on some nuts. There were a lot of monkeys at the sanctuary (hence its name) many of which had various items in their hands that they’d procured from frightened tourists. The sanctuary was a remarkable place. All around us were thin vines hanging from tall thick trees, and everything was oh so green. Even the stone walls and gargoyles, which had moss growing all over them. There was a temple at the grounds, and for once people were allowed to enter so long as they wore the appropriate clothing. All except for menstruating women that is. It was strange to see that men had to wear more clothing than women if they wanted to enter. Usually it was the other way around, although, this was my first time near a Hindu temple, and I was still learning about their beliefs. That’s one thing I’ll take from this trip, the amount I’ve learned about other religions. As I walked around the sanctuary with my arms folded, I kept my iPhone firmly tucked under my armpit so no monkeys would see. I whipped it out any time I saw a monkey doing something funny. I was annoyed when I’d narrowly missed capturing one smiling at the other. Although I was slightly wary because that particular facial expression represents fear or aggression.

• Many people were scared of the monkeys, while others were slightly braver. One example of a brave person was a man sat on a wall. He allowed three monkeys to climb all over him… literally. An example of someone scared was when a woman had a monkey run up behind her and grab her handbag. The monkey didn’t get anything, but the experience left the girl shaken up. Luckily for her Simon was near, as he scared it off. Now, remember the disclaimer from earlier? Well this is where it “doesn’t” come in. A little while later we saw a monkey running towards a person with a bottle of water. The monkey really wanted the water and made several attempts to grab it. Unfortunately for the monkey this person didn’t want to give it up. Then, as a way of getting rid of the monkey, this person “definitely” didn’t hit it on the head with the bottle on sacred grounds. And this person “definitely” didn’t receive a cut on their finger because of the incident. And there “definitely” wasn’t a fear that this person might have contracted rabies because their thumb “definitely” didn’t catch on the monkey’s teeth.

• The monkey didn’t look hurt from the bop, and it even managed to get what it wanted in the end. It ran up the nearest tree with the bottle under its arm. We then saw the previous owner of the bottle getting treated for their wound at a nearby first aid room. It appeared as though the people were used to this sort of thing happening, as they had a whole lot of iodine and cleaning solution stocked up for such an event. After seeing the monkey chase after the bottle, Ann was a little frightened. So both her and Simon decided to meet us at the entrance, while Sarah and I explored the rest of the sanctuary. There was one final area down a set of concrete steps which led to a flowing river. It was very picturesque. It was dense with trees, and moss covered gargoyles. There were two large Komodo dragon statues which overlooked a stream of falling water, which made for excellent photographs. The best thing about the secluded area was the fact it was free of monkeys. The hairy bullies were nowhere in sight. We walked the narrow slippery pathway, following the river as far as we could, but it led to a dead end. All we could do then was return in the direction we’d come, and climb back up the concrete staircase. When we reached the top we noticed an Asian couple fighting with some monkeys. One of them had stolen the girls glasses, and the boyfriend was trying his hardest to get them back. Every time he moved closer, the mummy monkey threatened him. Eventually they got them back, but I don’t know how. We’d had enough by then, so we decided to go find Ann and Simon.

• The bottom of Monkey Forest Road, where we were, was filled with small gift shops and restaurants. We had to climb a slight hill before we found somewhere to eat, and I couldn’t help feeling it resembled a smaller version of Park Street in Bristol. The way the shops ran alongside the hill was just like it was back home. The restaurant we chose sold really nice Balinesian dishes. I had the sweet and sour crispy chicken with rice. I was so hungry that I hoovered it down before anyone else was halfway through theirs. I’d been ordering westernised dishes for a while, so it was refreshing to have rice again. Afterwards, Ann and Sarah wanted to look at the shops. I wasn’t interested, so I said I’d go on back to our resort. Sarah tried encouraging me to stay, but I said I needed the bathroom. She then let me go instantly, had I just learned a new get out of jail free trick?

• Simon also joined me in the return walk. When we reached the top of the cobbled hill we saw a gorgeous sunset. In the distance, behind the rice paddies, the sun was busy changing the colour of the sky. Off to the side of our resort in the distance we could make out the silhouette of a volcano. Another interesting sight was the mist at the other end of a rice field. It was so humid out that it caused a white cloud to form between the many trees. I took some pictures then we waited on the girls beside the pool. When Sarah got back she told me how she’d haggled down the price of a dress she liked, but because they had no money on them they couldn’t pay. That also explained why her shopping visit was so short lived. It was close to 6:30pm as we sat on the loungers, and the Mosquitos were just starting their shifts. We all decided to go back to our rooms for a while to let their presence blow over. That’s what Sarah and I said at least, it was just an excuse for us to watch tv shows in bed. And finally, FINALLY, we leaned who the mother is in “How I Met Your Mother”. 8 long seasons and the secret had been revealed. When that ended we went to Ann and Simon’s room to see how they were doing.

• We spent some time there while Sarah tried on her old clothes, which her parents had brought out for her. When everyone was ready, around 7ish, we caught the shuttle bus into town. We ended up back on Monkey Forest Road. To begin with, Simon and I followed the girls around the shops like two brain dead zombies. There was no real purpose for our visit, other than to eventually get some tea. I don’t like going out without an objective as I feel as though I’m wasting time. We alternated from one side of the street to the other, stopping in each shop that sold tea light holders and other trinkets, until we reached a tourist shop. Sarah and I ended up booking a day trip to climb a volcano in a couple days time. The downside was it would start at 2 – 2:30am. The hardest part would be getting to sleep early enough to be ready for it. We kept walking until we reached an area less habited by shops and restaurants, and decided to turn around and walk back where we’d just come from. On the way Simon purchased a couple frogs from a market stall for his pond back home. It was almost 9pm by this point, and our free shuttle was only free until 10pm, after that it charged. Quickly we found a place to eat, where I enjoyed another rice based meal, before we got the waiter to phone our resort for the shuttle home.

• As we waited outside for our driver, we were pestered by a friendly taxi driver looking for a fare. I kept telling him that we had a free shuttle coming, but he insisted on talking. I think he understood by the end, but that didn’t stop him from telling me how much he’d charge us. 100,000, that was over £5. Just gone 10pm the shuttle bus pulled up, and 10 minutes later we were back. We filled out the slips to let the staff know what we’d like for breakfast the next day, then returned to our rooms. Sarah and I then continued watching tv shows long into the night, but it was cut short when the sd card played up again. Bloody technology, I could procrastinate no longer and got to work on my blog. It was 3am by the time I’d finished.

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