During a trip to Bali, my husband and I decided to hike up to a famous local 'Monkey Temple'. We'd heard many stories of these cheeky little families and the mischief they cause to the unsuspecting tourists that come to visit them and wanted to go and see these antics for ourselves.
We were greeted at the entrance gate by a young monkey laying splayed on top of a stone parapet, his head dangling off the side to watch us lazily upside down. Next to him was a very relaxed and amused guard leaning up against the opposite wall. The two of them guarding the entrance to the temple. It looked like these two had known each other all their lives and were simply old friends hanging out for the afternoon just for the pleasure of being together. As we drew nearer, the guard shifted his weight, and leaned forward his amused eyes scanning our bags and pockets. "Ticket?" he asked, the monkey stretched, yawned widely and relaxed back into his repose apparently completely uninterested in us.
"Yes" my husband said as he reached into his pocket to fish them out. At the same time I pulled my camera from my bag. As the sound of the zip reverberated through the air, the monkey's eyes immediately turned to lock onto my hand gripping the expensive black camera. With graceful ease, his eyes locked onto its target like a tiger hunting its prey, he swung off his back his head twisted swiftly around and crouching forward, hands gripping the stone pillar, he raised his hauches ready to spring his tail raised high in the air. The guard recognising danger immediately, quickly shooed him away with a swipe of his own hand. The monkey, accustomed to this reaction was too quick for him and as quick as a flash dodged the hand and leapt expertly into some nearby bushes. A cacophony of screeches and yelps erupted from the exotic shrubbery. All this happened in less than two seconds. I stood frozen in place my camera gripped in my hands, incredulous.
The guard flashed me a big smile and said. "Better keep your bag zipped up tight miss, and put your sun glasses, and any loose bits of your camera away. These guys are smarter than street thieves!" .
We quickly frisked ourselves of any jewelry, sunglasses, shiny accessories and lens caps, I threw my camera strap over my head and under one arm to strap it to my body more securely and we set off up the temple steps, warily scanning the tree branches above. We left the guard behind staring after us with a huge grin on his face.
This was just the start to a very interesting day.
Giclee Print on Illford Pearl paper.