When I finally rolled out of bed this morning at 8AM I threw open the drapes of the window that looks onto my balcony. Instead of the view of the river valley below I found myself gazing into two coal black eyes. A huge monkey from the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary had climbed onto my balcony, perched himself on the table beneath my window, and was gazing intently through the crack in the drapes. Startled, I hopped backward. I’m pretty sure he was just as startled, because he immediately scampered up the wall and sat on the roof tiles above, screeching and clucking.
Since the Monkey Sanctuary is only about 100 feet from my hotel I decided I’d better check it out, so I spent the better part of the afternoon walking around the park watching the antics of the monkeys. Actually, the species on Bali and in the Sanctuary are Balinese macaques, also known as long-tailed macaques. Aside from humans, macaques are the most widespread and successful of all primates. About 300 macaques reside in this park. The adult males can weigh up to 22 pounds, have large canine teeth, broad shoulders and facial hair that resembles a mustache. The adult females are smaller (up to 17 pounds) and have long facial hair that looks like a beard. Their coloring ranges from silver to grey to tan, with the largest males being the most silvery. Babies hang upside down from their mothers’ bellies, looking like newborn rats with little or no fur.