by Marc Escanuelas
See the cute monkey? Look! He thinks he’s people!
I famously hate monkeys. I used to think they were cute and adorable and in pictures, they are! It’s not until you meet them in person, outside of the confines of a zoo, that you start to realize what vicious little creatures they are. They’re wild animals. Their primary goal for the day is to acquire food. They don’t care if that food is growing on a bush or resting in your palm. I know that’s an unfair characterization but so be it.
I first encountered monkeys in Burma where I watched food vendors and monkeys locked in a daily battle over bananas. A vendor would have a tray of bananas to sell to tourists aside a temple and the monkeys would inch towards it stealthily only to be shooed away at the last minute. However, one day a particularly plump monkey succeeded and snatched an entire bushel of bananas. Fists were shaken by the vendors and much squealing was heard from his fellow monkeys. The monkeys had won that day.
At Uluwatu Temple, you’re warned repeatedly that monkeys will snatch the sunglasses off your head or anything else shiny you have on you. My friend that lives on Bali said they were trained to do so to amuse tourists. I fail to find amusement in having a creature that looks alarmingly human-like leap on my face and snatch off my sunglasses.
In closing, beware the monkeys.