If you read Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, you’ve heard of Ubud, Indonesia. My husband and I visited Ubud a few years ago, to see what the fuss was all about.
Cafe Wayan is the first stop for Eat, Pray, Love tourists. The restaurant was made famous because Elizabeth eats there often, befriends the owner and raises money so the owner can buy a house for herself and her little girls. A nice story, for sure, but it’s obvious that Cafe Wayan has been enjoying the publicity it received from the book. The café has highly inflated prices, especially considering that the food offered is not much different from every other place. Though they did have some really nice cakes on display!
Ubud is ripe with things for tourists to do, like listen to live music, take bike tours through the rice fields and it is almost mandatory to visit the Monkey Forest. The sanctuary is home to around 350 long-tailed macaques. Considering that these monkeys are still wild, it was amazing to walk amongst them.
The monkeys weren’t scared of the people around (there are some guides/trainers walking to make sure that monkey/human interaction doesn’t lead to trouble), but there were times when the human/monkey worlds crossed in unfavourable ways. Like for this lady:
While I’m sure she thought this one monkey was so cute (she’s taking a picture, isn’t she?), it wasn’t so cute when a second monkey joined in, and they were trying to get under her skirt. She was eventually saved by a trainer, but for that one minute when she was on her own, it got pretty hairy. When it’s man vs. monkey, the monkey will win every time.
It was really amazing to watch these animals up close, interacting with each other, with their opposable thumbs and everything. So human-like or maybe we’re just so monkey-like.