Sitting on the deck this morning, having breakfast, we ended up with unexpected visitors. With only a rustling of leaves to announce their arrival we saw a squirrel - followed by a friend or two. Moving at the speed of light they raced across the tree branches, flinging themselves across gaps and running up and down the trunks. Not sure whether it was a game of chase or whether it is how they keep out of the reach of predators, but it was lovely to watch. We will have to keep an eye out for them each morning....capturing them via vp camera will be a challenge.
We decided to spend the day exploring the areas around Ubud, so taking a car and driver for the day, we set out early to explore. We are based at Sayan, an area famous for its arts, village life and culture.
First stop was the Monkey Forest. Although we are both aware of the potential dangers of interacting with monkeys we decided to brave it. Turned out to be a great decision as it was a highlight of my day. Arriving early, the ticket office wasn't yet open, was the best decision we made. The monkeys were feasting on breakfast, fairly mellow, and with few tourists yet to get them going were well behaved. We walked the park within reach of them, but had no issues with monkeys climbing on us, stealing glasses or hats or any of the elements we were warned about. Having removed my ear rings as a precaution I was a little nervous as to what to expect, however things went well. The area is quite beautiful with seemingly unspoilt forest, lots of mature trees, paths, a temple and of course the monkeys.
Long tailed macaques, it was interesting to observe the monkeys interacting. The juveniles spent much time harassing each other and play "fighting". A couple of the females had quite young babies, but even they were quite happy coming close to you. The trick was to keep an eye on all of the monkeys while simultaneously photographing your monkey of choice. At one stage, distracted by a mother and her baby, another couple of monkeys came close to me from out of sight. Frank though was on standby in case things escalated.
As we left the monkey forest, more people were arriving and things were getting busier, so we timed our visit well. Paid retrospectively for our ticket and kept going.
PS the collective noun for a group of squirrels is a colony or a dray....my favourite option though - a scurry!