Monkeys and Tabasco

The sound of rain awoke us, but not a rain that we were familiar with. The light drizzle that we have come to think of as a torrential rainstorm back home, is nothing compared to the downpour that awoke us. Upon getting up, the rain let up and I decided, since this was the second to last morning in the hotel before the home-stay, it was a perfect time for a walk. It was perfect, until about halfway through when the rain returned. More water came down in the fifteen minutes it took to return home than all of New Mexico will get in the next year. The rain persisted all through breakfast and beyond, forcing us to hide in our rooms. Within thirty minutes the rain let up, and within another thirty the sky had opened up and cerulean blue sky was above. Sitting in the dining area, we discussed the home stay that seems to loom ahead of us. Nervous energy shifted more and more to excitement as we listened, but the prospect is still daunting. 

We started to mobilize, preparing for something all of us were excited for since the first meeting; The Monkey Forest Temple! The walk was hot, and a perfect contrast to the rainstorm earlier. As we entered the forest a huge sign of rules was posted, listing what we should not do with the monkeys. The forest was massive, and an impressive plethora of fauna greeted us. The trees became quickly unimpressive as soon we saw monkeys scurrying about, mothers carrying their young, adolescent monkeys hopping about, agrresive males wrestling and howling and monkeys playing everywhere you could imagine. The deeper into the forest, closer to the ancient monkey temple, the amount of monkeys increased. Soon the statues and trees were not the only things the monkey climbed on, and they soon started climbing up our arms, sitting on our shoulders, and tactfully opening the zippers of our backpacks. The sign posted outside warned us not to look into the monkeys eyes, but it was difficult as their little eyes beamed with their intelligence. All of us had at least one monkey on us at some point, and one of us was unlucky enough to have a monkey pee on him. We left the forest excited, and found out that lunch was just as exciting. We arrived at by far one of the best restaurants we’ve had so far and we were blessed to find Tabasco sauce. The only way the day could have been better would be if we had found Tapatio.

After lunch we had almost two hours to explore and relax. Most of us went downtown and traversed the hectic market. The market is not exactly a pleasant place in Ubud- noisy, slightly aggressive and smelly, but it holds a certain charm. Weaving between the many stalls, exploring the winding maze, and dodging the unpleasant salespeople was fun, and my little three man group was laughing and joking the entire time. Soon the hours melted away and we returned to the hotel. After dinner we packed our things, and we are now ready for the home-stay. I know it’ll be an experience I’ll never forget and I’m excited, but I’m also a little apprehensive. 

We love you all.

– Liam Kuziel 

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