We were on our last night in Bali, after a great two week trip, and had planned to see Uluwatu, the water temple on the southwest tip of the island, on our way to the airport in Denpasar. The temple at Uluwatu is home to bands of roving, aggressive macaque monkeys, not unlike many other temples in Bali. But their numbers are greater here. An average male is around 25 lbs and they're very cunning and calculating (seriously!). The little bandits also have a reputation for stealing - ripping off what you're carrying or whatever's hanging off of you. Backpacks should always be secured with a beltstrap or they'll pull at it. Carrying a jacket or sweatshirt is way too compelling for them, and they'll soon disappear down the cliffs, along with that jacket. And sunglasses without a lanyard or strap? Forget it. Say goodbye to them. Park employees or locals may try and retrieve your stolen belongings for a fee, but it's usually impossible to catch the quick and agile thieves. But I never thought the bandana I was wearing would have been a target. After all, it was tied tight against my head under my long hair at the nape of my neck, and knotted so hard I could barely get it undone.
We walked along the stone wall that followed the cliffs of Uluwatu, with the waves crashing thousands of feet below us. And out of the corner of my eye I saw three large males following us close, but far enough back to look inconspicuous (I told you they were cunning). When we reached the end of the wall, a nice German couple offered to take our picture, with the golden-hour sun setting behind the temple in the distance. The three monkeys passed us by but stopped a few feet away. And just then, as the shutter was about to click and in one of those 'slow-motion moments', a flurry of commotion whipped our heads around. They ran past us at warp speed and with such precision it reminded me of when little girls ran up behind you and pulled your hair on the playground. They made their play. With a quick grab, my head yanked back, and my favorite bandana was gone. Almost immediately, the thief claimed his prize by peeing all over it, as if to dare me to try and retrieve it now. I actually thought about it for a moment - it was my well-worn favorite, after all.
But 25 lbs of muscle and canines told me I could probably just as easily buy another!