Day 9: Ubud, Indonesia

Today I got a more invested view in rural Indonesia. There are few parts of this country that you can travel to and be in a tourist spot, and see goods the country had to offer. I went to Ubud with Ayu, and her friend Dhevine.

Our main goal today was to visit Monkey Forest. Monkey Forest is a tourist attraction with monkeys who freely roam public walk routes. The attraction is not that big, and is easy to walk in about a half hour time. I took a fairly good amount of video, which I will cut and edit later and post on here. Upon arrival Ayu and Dhevine quickly went to the front entrance while I put away some items. The monkeys here are eager, smell, and are little thieves. When I walked up to the entrance, the workers had turned Dhevine away because of her dog, P-Spot. Ayu and I entered the established, and almost immediately to see quite a few interactions between visitors and monkeys. At the very front there was a sign stating what not to do, and ironically the visitors were breaking every rule in the book. The main ones do not feed or touch the monkeys, and yet people did that. There is one video that I will post, that a guy was intimidating one of the monkeys, and the monkey reached out to smack him in the face.

When looking around there was more to the place than lazy fat monkeys and their equally simplistic observers. I found it funny, that here we had people observing animals in their natural habitat. The monkeys were acting out as usual, their reactions spontaneous. One thing that really wandered into my mind, is how the monkeys communicated with each other. I mean you see them yell and screech, but you never see them sit down for coffee and have a conversation. It would really appear they use body language at its best for conversation.. From what I could tell, they were just like humans, except they were happier with a simplified form of communication. I found it funny how some of the visitors would poke fun at the monkey causing it to pick or slap back. When in reality if I were in that monkey’s position.. I’d probably want to bite that guy’s face off for antagonizing me. People would sometimes try to get the monkey to do tricks for a banana. I watched a man dangle a banana in a monkeys face and pull it away as the monkey attempted to grab it. The man then stood up straight and walked away. Moments later the monkey pick pocketed the man’s wallet from the back of his pants and then disappeared into the trees before the man could recover his wallet.

Overall the site was very impressive as it offered some ancient Indonesian architecture and art. These were sacred grounds and I guess some rituals were still performed for the right price as they did live cremation and funeral ceremonies on site. I enjoyed my time there as the scenery was some of the most exotic and beautiful I’ve encountered. The entire visit there lasted for maybe a half hour. Shortly after we departed Monkey Forest to join Dhevine at a local coffee shop. We stopped at a few thrift stores on the way to the shop. I was able to find my sister and mother bracelets. We met with Dhevine at a small coffee shop where the service was excellent. I spoke to a few of the servers, which had a great amount of respect for the United States because of president Obama. I informed them he’s not exactly the fan favorite president, but I wasn’t about to crush they appreciation for the man. I can’t say I dislike Obama, but all I can say is I’m less than satisfied with the direction of the country.

Later after leaving the site we drove back to the kos to prepare for the night. Ayu, Dhevine, and one of their coworkers wanted to meet downtown Kuta at SkyGarden, which is a 4 story club with a labyrinth of different clubs and genres to pick from. We first went to PotatoeHead, which was a neat bar. It overlooked the beach and had a shallow pool for its patrons to soak their feet as the waves came inland. The bar was dimly lit with hanging lights and ground torches, the people were primarily white, and were loaded with money. The food and drink, were top-notch, and also very expensive. Upon exploring to find the lavatories I came down a set of stairs to this empty nook. I looked around as I swore I saw people come this way. I sat around for a moment confused. A moment later a part of the wall swung open. The bathrooms were hidden doors, and when occupied they were hidden! It was quite ingenious if you ask me. When we were seated at our table, we were sat at a couch with a coffee table. Ayu noted that it’s very tough for Indonesians to be seated at a table. She also pointed out the reason they were sat there, was because of me, a buly.

My mind begun to linger again as I looked around. I made an earlier observation that Buly as tourist had been the targeted customer in the majority of Kuta. However, at this club, racial selection was swept under the carpet and kept hush-hush even if blatant to the observant eye. Already this club had sacrificed its dignity for a skin color, and foriegn currency. I admit it was fun there, and it was Ayu’s favorite bar. I couldn’t help but noticing the VIP seats where a few Buly with more money than what they knew what to do with, had two personal balinese girls standing, waiting for their every need to be served. I noticed a fairly well dressed man approached one of them, spoke to her for a moment. She dropped her gaze to his feet, you could tell she was being lectured. My guess was the man was her boss, and he was non the less a buly. Again though, the service was spectacular, but it couldn’t hide the racial tension in the air. This begs another question though, the tension in the United States, not only between black and white.. but everyone. Do people just tolerate people here? Or is it just that they have no money and refuse to argue with that. Again, I’m getting ahead of myself, this was a tourist spot, and the servers knew what they were getting themselves into working here. The Balinese coming here for drinks/food also probably knew they would be placed in a different spot, the bar management in fear they wouldn’t spend as much.

When entering SkyGarden, Ayu and Dhevine immediately took me to the top floor where the music was American inspired, and again mostly buly. The people here were all trashed, and well, it was like any other young popular American club. Another one of Ayu’s friends joined us. The view from the top floor of SkyGarden wasn’t that bad. But all it really did was allow you to do was to gaze out onto the roof tops of the city. It revealed what other popular clubs were available to the public from a distance. When leaving the bar of course the 4 of us were all harassed by the Taxi drivers and road side merchants trying to sell things. That was the part of Bali I didn’t like. In Ubud not a single merchant chased me up the street asking for my money for their poorly crafted goods. We left SkyGarden at 0300. Most bars close around 0500, but this one was modeled after a New York City bar I guess. Upon leaving the bar I got another taste of another similarity in cultures. I realized that people were not so much different again. People were tripping over each other laughing like drunk school girls. Race at this point did not matter, and even if you were hated by your own country, no one appeared to care here. It felt like, that the only time anyone really hated another person by pre-judging them, is when they are complacent with themselves, or their own failures. Drunk in paradise, I can see it makes it a little bit easier to run away from problems at home, for some people I guess. My night wasn’t so great, but then again my problems abandoned me once I was able to identify them, and realize I wasn’t the only one dealing with them. Just realizing other people are in the same shoes as me, and that we all are suffering from the same things really opened my eyes in another fashion tonight. That fashion was that we have to accept that everyone has problems, and have to let ours go.


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