Wednesday, February 18, 2009

malaysian monkeys.

While in Malaysia, we had our share of encounters with these random monkeys.

first stop: Batu Caves.

Besides being one of the most popular Hindu shrines outside of India (we were 2 days away from one of the largest festivals ever…) Batu Caves is also home to a diversity of wildlife. I had almost forgotten about all of the warnings about monkeys I had read online until we got to the entrance of the cave and were greeted by a handful of crazed monkeys… wanting whatever food you had. Good thing I didn’t bring any… they were so aggressive.. sliding down the railings and hissing at you. Kathryn tried to touch one, but it hissed and bared its teeth at her.. so scary.. I watched as a gang of monkey bandits swarmed a woman carrying some flower garlands. The temple-goers constantly have to ward of the monkeys who try to steal the fruit left at the altars. Interestingly enough, the monkeys live at peace with the flock of hens and two cats that also inhabit the main cave.

There are 272 steps leading up to the main temple area, we learned later that for every step you take, one sin is forgiven…

Second stop: Firefly magical mystery tour.

I read online about this “INCREDIBLE” firefly tour. Apparently right outside of Kuala Lumpur is a river where thousands of fireflies congregate for no reason at all. We were advised to rent a taxi cab for 250 ringgit a day, but decided to just join a tour.. and I am so glad we did.
We were the only five on our tour, and our guide, Steven, was very informative on all subjects – the history of Malaysia, how to harvest the various plants of Malaysia, about the Hindu Temple we visited, etc. he talked non-stop for the entire 2-hour drive. Anyway, at one point he mumbled something about monkeys, but I thought he was joking. Until he pulled over to a street-side market to buy some beans “for the monkeys.” It was at this market that I spotted the most ginormous pile of durian I have ever seen..

Back to the monkeys… we are driving along, and we pull off of the highway onto this windy road and BAM monkeys everywhere. We are a little freaked out from our experience at Batu caves, but Steven assures us that these are Silver Leaf monkeys and they are docile. So we shove some green beans in our pocket, and set out to feed these strange animals. They are really eager to have our green beans, so sometimes they jump on you, or stick their hand in your pocket.. but no matter. Some of the locals gather around to play with them, and one of them has a rubber snake to wave at them just in case they get a little out of hand.

After feeding the monkeys, we went for our seafood dinner… we were a little wary after the random stop with the monkeys made this tour seem very similar to a trip we took in October which we deemed the original “Magical Mystery Tour” (more on that at a later date). We expected this ‘seafood dinner’ to be pretty gross, but we were pleasantly surprised to arrive at a Chinese restaurant on a river overlooking the sunset.. and the food was great and all you can eat!

The fireflies were a little disappointing – they mostly hung out in bushes on the bank. But it was nice to see a 5th generation family run business not yet commercialized. They had about a half-dozen little wooden rowboats and would take 4 people in each boat up and down the river. The fireflies weren’t really as advertised, but it was still very lovely, quiet, and you could watch both the fireflies and the stars twinkle. We all agreed this tour was more Magic than Mystery.


cinr said...

so awesome!

Molly said...

That monkey thing sounds SCARY! I'm glad you didn't get attacked and die. :)

Laura said...

I like your pictures. :)