Monkeys? We came from Monkeys!? Well, after today I'm one step closer to believing it. Now, animals to me have always seemed pretty dumb. Most of them stand around for a bit in a field until we eat them don't they. Okay, so dogs run around, catch sticks, lick your face, but they're never gonna pass an IQ test are they. Cats to me are simply women on permanent PMT so that's about all I'll say about cats.
For the last couple of hours though I have been sat in total awe looking at humans with fur. That's the best way I can describe the Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud. These amazing creatures are just awe inspiring to watch. There was a little pool for them to wash in, and they took great delight in grabbing hold of each other and throwing each other in, then laughing hysterically to themselves. There were a couple of them going around doing the Benny Hill head slapping routine to their mates. The most amazing sight was seeing the babies hanging upside down by their legs to their parent's belly as they bounded about. There was an eerie connection when you looked into their eyes, like we kind of know each other. I left feeling like I'd had a spliff and a back rub.
When Balinese get taught English I school, two of the first words they must get taught have got to be massage and transport. Basically, you get it shouted at you a lot in the tourist areas; do you want a massage or do you need a taxi? 24 massages I could have had yesterday as I was strolling on the beach in Sanur if I'd took everyone up on the offer. Okay, so it's only about 3 quid for an hours massaging, but there's only so much massaging you can take. And just in case you're wondering, this IS just massaging, no extras in Bali. That's for Thailand. The women (it's generally women) offering the massaging range from 18 to 60 I'd say. Now, I know when you're laid down getting a back rub it doesn't really matter what age the hands are that are kneading you, but it seems ridiculous to me not to pick a tiny 18 year old and lay there happy in that knowledge, so yesterday I did…I was looking forward to some slender fingers attached to a 4 feet 11 inches body, only to find that most of the hour I spent grimacing; her tiny hands had the strength of an All Blacks forward. Not wanting to appear a western p**** I obviously didn't moan once. My what strong hands you have, I said to her as the ordeal was nearly over. That was half strength what I normally do, she replied. The massage girl told me that she worked 7 days a week, 13 hour days, 1 week off a year. That seems about the same amongst other Balinese I've asked. Mind you, they do a lot of sitting around during that time. And they seem a lot happier than us for it.
The poorness of the place means that everything is stupidly, stupidly cheap. You can sit down in a cafe, get some chicken noodles and a smoothie for just over quid. Accommodation, and I mean like nice accommodation, with those holiday necessities like a pool, balcony, double bed, leafy trees and rice fields to look at, works out about 6 quid a night. And that includes breakfast. Brought up your room. With coffee to die for (they don't call it Java for no reason). Doing this traveling lark as a couple you could practically live on fresh air. Because there's18,000 of their rupees to our pound, when you end up wondering how much tip to leave (which actually they don't expect anyway), you realise it's the difference between 10 and 20 pence…
I'm planning on learning to surf whilst I'm in Bali, and for that I've got to brave Kuta, where the surf is always up. Every resort, no matter how swish, has got it's Blackpool, and Bali is no exception. I've already been to Kuta and I couldn't wait to leave… How about this for car stickers you can buy there to pull the ladies with "up the bum no babys", "lick my japs eye", or "I will s*** in your mouth". There there's the downright surreal such as "hello Hannah" (there's no other name options). I'd like to think there's something lost in the translation, but maybe not… In Kuta there's a constant stream of mopeds that fight you for road, as pavement and road have become one. At least for all it's brashness though there are still touches that remind you of where you are. First thing in the morning the whole town smells gloriously of incense, as each shop opens and puts out a small posy of flowers and joss sticks smoldering away out front. It's these unexpected and inexplicable differences that I love about traveling. In the airport in Jakarta, just above every men's urinal, was a fishtank! I shopped in Hardy's supermarket yesterday and everyone got two free sweets with each purchase! For out and out weirdness though, nothing beats the fact that McDonalds here do McDelivery!!
Maybe she expected privacy, or maybe she just didn't care…I was leaving the internet café, waiting in line to pay…Glance over at the screen of a girl who's writing an email…Hmmm, what's she writing about…."I was getting so wet at just the thought of giving you head.". Seemed an ideal time for me to pull a Tim from The Office face at the wall.
Okay, so you're walking along narrow paths around rice fields. You haven't seen another tourist for at least an hour. Then, coming towards you, you see a dark skinned fella, looks local. Oh, what's that he's carrying? Probably the sharpest looking machete you've ever seen! To the left and right of you is water logged rice field. Do you a) keep walking, smile the biggest smile you've ever smiled as you reach him, and hope he's doesn't slice your head clean off? b) stop, turn around, quickly walk the other way and hope he doesn't chase after you and slice your head clean off? Thankfully, I smiled, he smiled, and I've still got my head. Just a local going about his rice cutting business, just another brit who's used to 'what you lookin at?" Britain.