Going Green

Nina, Nelson and I started our last day in Bali at Ubud’s Sacred Monkey Forest.

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Here, hundreds of semi-tame long-tailed macaques swing through the trees and — more often — sit on the ground scrounging and begging for food. They were being fed raw sweet potato during our visit.

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We even saw a baby monkey coming out from under its mom’s protective arms in search of a snack:

IMG_9230You can pay to hold a banana in the air and have a monkey climb up you to get it, but that looked just a little too scary for the three of us (the other people who paid for that privilege didn’t look especially happy with their choice).

There are, of course, monkeys everywhere:

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The monkey forest is lovely in its own right. You can walk by temples, up along a stream that’s down in a deep gorge …

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… and past beautiful mossy statues:

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I really liked the monkeys climbing on monkeys …

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… especially this little guy, who was trying to scramble his way up Hanuman, the moneky god:

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And it wouldn’t be a human-monkey interaction zone without the requisite warning signs:

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We next drove southwest out of Ubud, on a road that took us past artisans’ shops, rice paddies, and tents housing giant ogoh ogoh. These are huge, scary creatures built for village parades that are held all across Bali on the festival day before the Day of Silence (part of Balinese New Year). We saw this demon …

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… with its foot standing on the shoulder of this person …

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… and this demon, whose face will be obscured from the public until parade day:

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These things are wonderful, hideous and creepy and cool. But we have no idea who they might be — when we asked our driver, he just said, “there are too many demons and gods in Hinduism to know.”

Our next stop was the Big Tree Farms Bamboo Chocolate Factory, the largest commercial structure made out of bamboo in the world.

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They weren’t running official tours — they mentioned something about a mechanical piece being closed for repairs — but they did walk us up to their giant sales floor, where we tasted cacao nibs, hot liquid chocolate, and coconut sugar:

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It is a spectacular (if surprisingly empty) space …

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… from which you can look down on the shipping room below:

IMG_9253The next part of our adventure took us to the nearby Green Village, a collection of eighteen very different bamboo houses in the middle of the jungle.

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IMG_9344IMG_9308Just for comparison, here is a pool house:

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Most of these houses can be rented on Airbnb, and you can pay to tour a few of them if they are open. We first visited the Garden Villa:

IMG_9302.jpgThis place is fun! Here are the kitchen…

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… a light fixture …

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… and the room with a view at the top of the house (where Nelson sat in wait for me, James Bond-style):

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The furniture is all made almost entirely out of bamboo. Nelson and I really liked this couch (we were also really hot, and impatiently waiting for lunch to arrive):

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When we finally did get lunch, I was impressed. Here is my elegantly-presented nasi goreng:IMG_9306

We next wandered downhill to River House, which was both enormous and impressive. A small, circular (!) front door …

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… leads to this interior:

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The bathroom and pantry are cleverly hidden …

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… the home office is up in a nest …

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… and the very private pool is tucked away far below:

IMG_9315We didn’t really want to leave this place. I could happily have lain down on the comfy-looking bed for a snooze …

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… but Nelson found the best lie-down space in the house:

ISEZ0574This elegant bathtub was one of the only things not made out of bamboo:

IMG_9324.jpgWe ended our visit with a tour of Cacao House, one of the newer places on the property.

IMG_9329.jpgIn this structure, we really liked the stairs …

IMG_9330… the clever stair cover in the top-floor yoga room …

IMG_9336.jpg… and the great hanging pod chairs that look out over the pool:

IMG_9340IMG_9339We were thrilled to have had the opportunity to visit such an interesting place. I’m still not sure whether I would want to stay there, because it really is quite a ways from other things to see and do (especially in Bali’s terrible traffic). But at the same time, it would be a unique experience.

Our trip to Bali ended with a farewell to one last beautiful sidewalk offering…

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… a stop to get amazing gelato at Massimo in Sanur …

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… and one last chance to interact with Hanuman in the airport departures hall:

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What a great trip! Three days is hardly enough time for Bali, but it’s an excellent way to get a taste of what the island has to offer.

 

 

 

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