I absolutely hate ‘em!
Last week, I retold the story and gave you the beginner’ guide to going up a volcano for the very first time; because going up a volcano really isn’t for everyone!
The adventure of walking through the flames of Mordor and struggling through the mountains of Erebor, whilst I plunged myself through the footsteps of Thorin Oakenshield and….
Not that mountain in New Zealand. The other one! The one in Indonesia.
It sure was a challenge and what was even moreso, was of trying to get through the hordes of monkeys.
I’ve met monkeys before.
I don’t like monkeys.
I have a fear of them!
The last time that I had an encounter with monkeys was in India. I was in Rajasthan and I went on a tiger-hunting safari tour at the Ranthambore National Park, not far from Jaipur. Ranthambore National Park is known for its tigers and the best times for tiger sightings are in November.
I happened to be in India in November.
I was looking forward to seeing those majestic creatures, and you would have thought that after paying our open-top gypsy jeep fee all we would have had to do, was to settle in, and take off.
When has it ever been that easy?
Inside the national park is a huge forest, and in that forest is the Banyan tree. The Banyan tree is the national tree of India, and hidden in those mystic trees were monkeys.
Huge monkeys who didn’t swing off into oblivion. Oh dear me no. These huge monkeys only had to come down and start parading around, as if they owned the place.
Apparently they do.
There was some sort of monkey temple nearby and in order to walk further into the forest, (as we were also on a guided tour of the flora and fauna of the national park), we had to pass these temples.
I turned into a sweat.
India is a place where they take the worship of animals quite seriously. You all know of the virtues of the Holy Cow but did you know that there is a temple called the Karni Mata Temple, dedicated to rats and known as the Temple of Rats.
The temple is the home to over 20,000 varieties of rats. You have to take off your shoes and walk in your socks, as bare feet are considered de rigueur. You are then surrounded by lots of little rats who scuttle over your feet.
Don’t move, as they’re holy and bring blessings.
Quite disgusting, but you can’t be in India if you aren’t shocked at least a little bit. Shudder!
Back to the monkeys!
In the monkey temple, the primates roamed free and they begged. Nay. They demanded, that you gave them titbits. Our guide had instructed us to:
- Be careful.
- Give small amounts of food.
- Don’t show fear.
- Don’t look them in the eye.
A huge monkey came towards me. And immediately, I began to shake. He brought out his hand. I gave him my “gift” whilst still shaking slightly. He strolled around me, and I gingerly walked on.
Then we came to the actual temple and all the monkeys were right in front of me.
I was surrounded and found no way to go around them, so I had to go through them.
I kept my head down all the way through until we got to our safari jeep.
And yes, we got to see tigers!
But what started this fiasco of fear in the first place? How did it come to be that I can ride horses, elephants, and camels. I can eat snake and crocodile meat, but I cannot be surrounded by monkeys! I mean, The Music Producer, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and myself love going to the Zoo in Berlin, and even there, I refused to go into the monkey sanctuary, and waited outside.
In fact, even though I love watching Return of the Apes, it still keeps me awake at night. I mean, what if?!!
What I neglected to tell you was that our beautiful residence was in Ubud. Ubud is one of the most fascinating places in the world. It’s surrounded by rice paddies and is just packed. Packed with opportunities to dig into your spiritual flow, get your karma going, and focus on your chakra. That’s right, Ubud is the land of enlightenment, learning, and discipline. It’s also next-door to that enormously famous forest of awe.
The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary otherwise known as The Monkey Forest.
You know how I told you that the Banyan Tree is the National Tree of India. Well, it’s also on the coat of arms of Indonesia and is deeply sacred. As are monkeys.
Our hotel was about 5 minutes away from the Monkey Forest. In fact, we had a private team of security men who slept in the surrounding confines of our house. Not because of crime. Nope!
Because of the monkeys.
Our house was set away from the grounds of the hotel and was blissfully secluded, but with seclusion came nature. We had giant toads, giant lizards, and lots and lots of monkeys. Monkeys that have no respect over walls, and just climb over! In fact, on our first day, we saw a huge number of them in the neighbouring rice field at the back of our house! Alam Shanti were great and ensured our safety so that we always felt safe and secure, as there was a large number of staff on the grounds. And rice farmers!
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” wanted to experience what The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary had to offer. As for me. I already knew.
Remember when I told you that I had been to Bali back in ’99.
It was here that I had my first experience of monkeys.
I had joined a small group that had decided to go to The Monkey Forest. We came by mini-van and had just huddled up in the car-park. Our guide had instructed us to take off hats, glasses, and anything else that might catch the attention of a wandering primate. In those days, my hair was long, and I was leaning on the fence listening intently to the guide, when I felt a thump.
Something had landed on my head.
And that thing took a hold of my then-long hair, and pulled it.
It was a monkey.
I was in such a sense of shock that I screamed!
The guide shouted at me not to move but I couldn’t hear him, all I could see were the shocked faces of other tourists as this monkey proceeded to hang on for dear life, all the while pulling my hair, whilst I screamed and screamed!
The local people came to help me and enticed the monkey away, whilst I gingerly went on into The Monkey Forest too, all the while on high alert.
I did it, but not without discomfort, and almost screaming the forest down! As such, you can imagine my dismay when my family wanted to go to The Monkey Forest too.
They went and had a great time playing and feeding the monkeys. The Music Producer had a cheeky monkey go into his shoulder bag and help himself to a bottle of water. “The Tall Young Gentleman” had monkeys that liked him so much, they snatched bunches of bananas from his hand and tried to take his trousers!
And what about me?
Did I take up the challenge to face my fears?
They went without me!
This article is not sponsored and all opinions are my very own!
I have so much to share with you so next week I will be continuing our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar and you can read what happened to me in Korea……!
Winter is coming. Oh my!
A fortnight ago, a British company contacted me and asked me to contribute my expert knowledge on Germany and Britain. You don’t need to ask me twice. Here it is: The 5 best differences between Germany and Britain.
Additional National Theatre Live productions are also coming up and can be seen at the Cinestar Berlin – Original such as:
- John. on: 08.01.15.
- Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson on: 22.01.15.
On January 15th, I will be watching the new Grand Show at the Friedrichstadt-Palast: THE WYLD.
Berlin Fashion Week is coming up and will take place between January 19th and January 23rd, 2015. Save the Date!
For the rest of the year, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.
At the end of 2014, I will reveal some of my plans for 2015. So many things are going to happen.
December is going to be marvellous!
Watch this space!
Have you ever been to the Monkey Forest in Bali? Do you like monkeys? Do you like rats?!
See you in Berlin.
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