Before I tell you about Pura Uluwatu (temple) I must get to the monkey story. Since it turns out well, I can say it will be one of my favorite travel stories (although it could have turned out much differently). Uluwatu Temple is located at the very end of the Bukit Peninsula. Besides its lovely setting on a high cliff, it is home to a gang of monkees…hundreds I suspect. We were told to watch our cameras, our earrings, hats, and glasses. So off came earrings and hats. But for those of you who know me, you know I am as blind as a bat. If I had to take off my glasses, I’d be in serious dangers of falling off that wonderful cliff and frankly wouldn’t be able to see a thing. So we took our chances (you can see where this is going can’t you).
After wandering around the temple (mostly monkey less) we headed down a tree shaded plaza to an overlook. I was watching a monkey sneaking up on jerry and was fiddling with my camera (strapped firmly around neck) when out of nowhere a monkey leaps out of a tree onto my shoulder grabs my glasses off my face and off she/he goes. There I am blind yelling “jerry, the monkey has my glasses” (to the general amusement of more fortunate European tourists). We attempted the “scare him” tactic: clapping, yelling. The small monkey was amused. We tried “here little monkey, good little monkey” approach. Again, amused. Jerry actually tried the stern father approach with “Put the glasses down!!!!) Again, amused. (That tone didn’t work with our son either) And all this time I’m thinking…do you suppose they carry rabies??? (Let me digress to say, that I had prescription sunglasses with me and extra glasses back at hotel…but these were my favorite orange glasses. And as Jerry points out, cost more than my Lumix camera, given the complexities of my lenses). I’m thinking, do I have something he might want more? Some little flashy thingy (where is Will Smith when you need him). Finally, a local comes up, the peanut salesman (for people not monkeys…so they say). He coaxed the monkey to drop the glasses in exchange for the peanut. And then he coaxed a 10,000 Rupiah reward from us ($1) in exchange for the glasses. Glasses that were minus one nosepad but otherwise unscathed and unscratched. Happy ending. And we left half wondering: did that peanut guy train those monkeys??
PostScript: Twitter To The Rescue
For those of you who wonder why people Twitter, well lets just say everyone has their reason, er, addictions. But in this case, I’m glad I do. Over the past few months, I deliberately developed some twitter friends (tweeps or twiends) in Bali in the hopes of learning more about the wonderful place we’re visiting. So there I am in the taxi with a wounded set of glasses wondering where I can get them fixed. Out comes the blackberry and off I tweet “Can sometime tell me where I can get glasses fixed. Had run in with monkey”. Within 30 minutes, I had a recommendation from 3 different tweeps all recommending the same: Optik Tanggal in Discovery Mall in Tuban/south Kuta. So off we went (it was in walking distance). And there at Optik Tanggal, I got two new nosepads, installed within 5 minutes for 3 US dollars. And voila, glasses fit again, as if there had never been one of those scrounging, devious, lighting fast little butthead of a monkey at Ulawatu Temple.