I wished I could have seen more of Ulu Watu, the Cliff Temple on our second day in Bali. But I couldn’t because monkeys have opposable thumbs. Before getting out of the cab the driver told me to take off my glasses because the monkeys would steal them. So I did and that’s why I didn’t see as much of the temple as I wanted. I pointed to my camera at a gray lump under an arching sculpture, no idea what it was, until it came into focus on the telephoto and I said, “Hey Suzi, that’s a statue of a monkey!”
Suzi replied: “And she has a baby.” Looking at the picture, on the screen with my glasses on, I can see, yes, she has a baby. Needless to say I used auto focus on the camera. (Often I focus manually.) The warning was well made. A monkey tried to grab my camera and Suzi’s bag. Each was securely looped over the neck and under the arm. One woman had an open wicker purse, bad idea, she was plagues by brazen simian pickpockets. No artful dodger here, blatant and in her purse. She let out a scream. Someone threw an umbrella at the money like a spear. I think it got away with some Kleenex. I saw one monkey eating a hat, an orange and white baseball cap. Without my glasses on I couldn’t see which team was being devoured. The monkeys are there, I think, to eat the offerings left at the temple. I think taking things from people is just fun for them.
Pura Luhr Ulu Watu, to give the temple it’s proper name, is perched on limestone cliffs overlooking the ocean. Waves crash beneath and a loudspeaker intones prayers. The temple honors the spirits of the sea and many of the carvings are in coral rock. The temple was founded in the 11th century.