Sunday, May 12, 2013

monkeying around

If you consider the stonework in this area, you'd think frogs would be the big deal. But Ubud surrounds a sacred monkey forest sanctuary, filled with naughty macaques. Macaques that WILL jump up and grab your orange bag while baring their teeth. Ask me how I know.

But to go backwards a little bit, last night we ate dinner in Ubud at a place called Fair Warung Bale, which is part of the fair future foundation. Apparently the man who owns the restaurant runs it to give young people with few opportunities a chance to learn the business, and profits go to securing equipment and supplies for a health clinic that occupies the lower floor. We'd read on Trip Advisor that the food was great, and since we've had good luck here, trusting the reviews, we set out for an early dinner. It was kind of a humid, warm evening, so we got a low table in a corner, jutting out over the street. And the food was really wonderful -- especially the salad Marc got with grilled tuna and feta and fresh tomatoes, dressed in olive oil and vinegar. The tuna was seasoned very well and grilled perfectly, and the whole thing was just so delicious. Makes my mouth water just remembering it. His red curry with chicken wasn't as good as the salad, or as good as my Thai chicken basil (really good), but that salad was so great the rest didn't matter.

not a great photo -- the place was dark -- but YUMMMMMM.
For breakfast this morning we ordered an Indonesian breakfast, black rice pudding. (I forgot to take a picture until I'd had a few bites...) It wasn't all that sweet, and it had fresh banana slices and a bit of milk on top. I really enjoyed it, but Marc wasn't as crazy about it. But it was accompanied by wonderful fruit, bread, and a pitcher of black Balinese coffee, and we had it on our little terrace. Life can be mighty sweet.

beautiful fruit under the yogurt and muesli (L) and Indonesian black rice pudding w bananas (R)
After breakfast we packed our bags (we had to move to a different room here at Alam Jiwa) and took out walking to see the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary. I have to say, it was one of my more unusual Mother's Day experiences, spending it in the monkey forest. In Ubud. In Bali.

that's a headstone for a deceased monkey, and two other monkeys grooming nearby
adorable little baby monkeys
monkey chase! 
circle of life, man. baby grooming and waiting graves.
monkey mother's day too!
this is the entrance to the sanctuary
and these guys were trying to steal some food. i think the one on the right was the lookout.
I've had days like that. Splat, flat down on the floor.
When we made it through the forest (after a couple of instances of being chased -- Marc was chased once, and a monkey jumped up on my orange bag once, with bared teeth), we wandered into Ubud to spend some time and try to finish up the shopping. I found some cloth, finally, and we stopped for another of those delicious lemonana drinks: crushed ice, lots of mint and lemon juice and coconut cream and simple syrup, blended to a frothy fresh sweet wonder. I'm going to try to make it when I get home, the combo is just so great. We wandered back through town, back through the monkey forest (another surprise attack on the orange bag which -- not for nothing, you crazy monkeys -- had NO food in it). By the time we reached our hotel we were hot and sweaty, so we changed into our bathing suits to swim and resume the getting-Lori-a-tan-for-once-in-her-life regimen. 

When our new room was ready, we were astounded to see it's a giant house. In an enclosed garden. With a huge bathroom. Seriously, it's crazy big and luxurious. I'm going to take a video of it later, it's unbelievable.

Early in the morning we'll take small bags and the breakfast our hotel provides off to our next adventure. We'll be driven to the coast, put on a speed boat of some kind, dropped off on Lombok, directed to another boat, dropped off on Gili Trawangan, and then driven in a horse-drawn cart to our next hotel where we'll stay a couple of days. Snorkel. Swim. Eat. Our same beautiful routine.

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