Category Archives: Monkeys

Cales best photos ever! Plus a few other favorites from Bali

Cale took these photos from his phone while we were at Ubud Monkey Forest. We were told to keep all glasses, wallets, cameras, and phones in a zipped bag, but of course we had to take the chance that the monkeys would NOT take our items up into a treetop. These monkeys were crawling all over the kids, including one particularly brave monkey who sat right on a very brave Shane. These have to be the best selfie photos ever!

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These guys worked at the beach, and loved having their photos taken with us!

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Here’s Trent coming down from his parasailing adventure:

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A cool selfie of me and Wayan with a nice photo bomb by Maria, and then another photo of me showing little Wayan my camera:

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A couple selfies of me and Trent:

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This group was headed to Temple, just before sunset.

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Maria bought some handmade dresses from these two ladies, they loved Maria’s blue eyes.

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These ladies were selling handmade jewelry and shawls along the beach

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This beautiful lady was selling fresh fruits from a basket that she carried on her head. She had the loveliest smile, and even let me try on her basket of fruit. I was shocked at how much it weighed, it must have been nearly 30 pounds. The second I released my hands and let my spine carry the full weight, I felt all my vertebrae compress together towards my feet. I cannot imagine the back pain she feels from doing this, all day, every day. Still, she smiled and was happy.

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Other random photos:

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Bali, Indonesia

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We are so blessed to be given the opportunity to live in Asia, there are so many fabulous countries and islands to explore.   Some of them are places that are familiar to us, but we really don’t know much about the countries and cultures in this part of the world.  Trent and I have decided that since we have a limited time to enjoy South East Asia, we will take advantage of every chance we can to visit, learn, and explore this area.  (Thank you to our Woodbury MN friend Sue M. and Hudson WI friend Mirjam S. for drilling this into our brains before we moved over here.  Sue & Mirjam both were lucky to be expats living in Singapore in the past)

In early November, we took a short 3 hour flight Bali, Indonesia.  Bali is one of those places that most Americans have heard of, myself included.  But all I really knew of this place was of it’s fabulous beaches, surfing competitions, and artsy natives.   So I was really excited to be able to see this area in person, and to explore it with Trent and the kids.  Bali is a destination that I never dreamt that I’d visit.  

Our adventures began, when after clearing customs, we headed out of the airport to meet our hired driver.  I’d been connected to Wayan through some expat women on facebook, who recommended him.  When we Blinkmans first laid eyes on Wayan, we knew without a doubt that we were going to have a good week.  When this man smiled, you could see the pure joy and happiness in his face.    He smiled with his entire face.  We immediately liked him.  

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Wayan was our driver and tour guide for five days straight.  Each day he arrived at our hotel, still dressed in traditional garb having just come from the Temple, armed with an itinerary to show us as much of his country as possible.  

 

He took us to rice terraces,  where we learned how much work it is to grow and harvest rice

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We explored the popular city of Ubud, with street after street of local crafter shops and we walked through Ubud Monkey forest, where Wayan pulled out some crackers and snacks to bring the monkeys over to us.  This was probably the best part of this vacation for the kids!

 

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to the top of Mount Kintamani,  an active volcano, where we had a delicious native lunch,

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He took us to Kuta, a touristy destination on the beach for private surfing lessons for the boys

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He took us to a sunset temple ceremony, on a cliff overlooking the Bali Sea, to his Hindu temple where he brought us inside and showed us around, and taught us about the Hindu Gods and beliefs.  Check out the date on the sign posted in front of his temple … “year 944”.
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He took us to a coffee plantation, for a taste of the worlds most expensive coffee, Luwak, with retail prices of up to $700 per kilogram.  It’s quite interesting … the coffee beans are eaten by a Civet, and then literally pooped out, cleaned, roasted, and then used to make coffee.  The kids and Trent were so grossed out by this, but there was no way I was gonna miss having a taste of this coffee.   The kids & Trent weren’t all that interested in seeing this, so the best picture I got was one of Wayan.  By the way, the coffee was really bitter and didn’t taste like coffee at all.  I drank 1/4 of the cup, could barely get it down, then I passed it to Wayan, who also grimaced with each sip.  

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He then took us for a day of watersports, which included “aqua walking” and the next day we went off-the-beaten-path private beach called “Blue Lagoon” for some snorkeling

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And for our last evening, he took us to his family compound.  This was one of the highlights of our trip, as we got to see how a normal Balinese family lives, and we were blessed to meet his wife and sweet 5 year old son, also named Wayan.

 

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 We learned that Wayan is a very common name in Bali, the 1st, 4th, and 9th sons are all named Wayan.  Our Wayan was the 9th in his family, so he has two brothers all with the name Wayan.  He has several nephews named Wayan as well, one of whom lives and works here in Singapore.  I promised Wayan that I would look up his nephew here in Sing!

Our last day in Bali came too quickly, and while we were all exhausted from our week and needed a vacation from our vacation, we were all sad to leave.  This was a place that felt like “home” to us.  We found the local people to be warm, gracious, welcoming … just plain lovely.   We loved their simple lifestyles, their colorful clothing, their exotic looks.  The island offers hot temperatures and warm breezes on the beaches as well as cool refreshing winds in the mountains.  

This was a vacation of a lifetime, and one that we will never forget. 

Monkeys Galore!

Inspired by our lone Subway monkey last night, Trent and I went in search of monkeys today.  We decided to go straight to Bukit Batok Nature Reserve, about 11 kilometers from our condo.  At the entrance of the park, there is a nice WWII memorial, and then trails leading off into the jungle.   Armed with mozzie spray (mosquito repellant), water, and camera, we treked along the concrete trail.

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The scenery in this park was unbelievable!  It was the most peaceful place that we have been since we arrived, and we were stunned that this place was mostly deserted.  There were a few enjoying picnics, and others who were strolling the paths, but considering there are 6 million people living on this island that I can drive the perimeter in a morning, it seems to be one of the best-kept secrets of Singapore.  

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It didn’t take long until we spied the monkey or two.

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Oh wait, wrong picture, haha.

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There were about 40 of them, big ones, old ones, tiny babies.  Some were just sitting and watching, others were playing in the water in the drainage canal, some jumping from tree to tree.  We even saw what looked like a newborn clinging to it’s momma.  

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The sign said to keep a distance of 3 to 5 feet, and yes, that is about how close I got to these creatures!!  It was fascinating, and I was completely unable to stop watching them.  After a few minutes, Trent was ready to keep walking, but he had to go on alone because I couldn’t take my eyes off the cutest little baby monkey.  

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Eventually I did peel myself away from the monkeys, and Trent and I continued on our walk.  It was too bad the kids had so much homework … they were at home at their desks working on algebra and science, poor things.  We planned to get the kids and head back in the late afternoon, once the hottest part of the day had past, but unfortunately, we had one of the sudden famous tropical rainstorms instead.

Here is a picture of one of the biggest creatures that we saw. He kept looking directly at me, and of course, I kept snapping photos. When I got home, and saw this picture, it was a bit creepy! Don’t ya think??

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Here are some other monkey pics that I took.

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Trent took this video on my iPhone … check these out … Five little monkeys playing together!!

So … thrilled that we got to see some Singapore monkeys up close, we hiked back to the car … to find this:

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And, of course, one last video:

Subway Monkey

Tonight, while eating dinner at Subway, we spied a little monkey!! We were at the Bukit Timah subway, which is a high traffic road, with lots of construction activity. I think this little guy is living in a tree right by the Subway, where there is a new building going up. I plan to stop by again this week to see if I can catch another glimpse of him.

Of course I ran right out of the restaurant, iPhone in hand, with the boys right behind me. Cale took both of these videos! It was so exciting~~ I just cannot believe that I am living in a place where there are wild monkeys!!!

A Monkey takes a dip in the condo pool!

Our condo,  called “Gallop Green” has the most beautiful pool.  Being a family that centers nearly all of our activities around a pool, swimming, or water, this pool was very appealing to us when we were trying to find a home here in Singapore.  The kids took one look at it, and declared that this was the place for us.  Gallop Green would be our home.

From our condo on the fourth (and top) floor, this is the view out of our living room window, as we look down on the pool.

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At night, it is all lit up, with lights wrapped around the palm trees, making it feel very Disney like.   It is just gorgeous.  We use this pool all the time, as it is very convenient.  It is 5 steps out our door to the elevator, then maybe 20 steps out of the elevator to the pool.  All the time we say that we cannot believe that we live here.  It is just dreamy.

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As you can imagine, we like to look down at the pool.  We are nebby, we are kind of spying on our neighbors, but also, we just like to look at the pool,  see some of the birds flying around (there is a full yellow parrot and a white macaw here regularly).  During the first week here,  while the kids were at school and Trent was sitting on the sofa doing work stuff on his computer, I took a break from unpacking and looked out the window.

You can imagine my compete surprise when I noticed a monkey sitting on the edge of the pool!   A monkey!!  I screamed to Trent, who practically threw his laptop, and we stood there in complete shock watching this monkey, casually dipping the end of his long tail into the pool water and then sucking on it.

I could see Lim, one of the guards at our condo, walking towards the pool, ready to shoo away the monkey ( he had his phone in hand, taking a video ) and I screamed again, “NO LIM!!! Not yet!  I need a photo!!”  Of course, he couldn’t hear me, and I ran to get my  camera, which was still packed away.

Trent couldn’t take his eyes off the monkey, and I was throwing things out of boxes, into the air, over my head, desperate to find my camera and attach the long lens.  I finally find it, take the lens cap off, make a mad sprint to the window, just in time to see the monkey jump out of the pool!

Apparently Lim scared it, which made it jump into the pool, do a quick doggie paddle, and it jumped out of the pool, down the concrete, behind the building, and up into a tree.   It was the most exciting thing ever!!

No, I didn’t get a photo, as when I took the lens cap off, it fogged up with the cold air conditioning air.  What a bummer.

Trent and I giggled like school girls for about 10 minutes, and then we had to meet the kids at the bus stop.  So we made a stop at the guard gate, to speak with Lim, who was also giggling like a girl.  He showed us his video, which he was thrilled with.

According to Lim, it’s been nearly 3 years since the last monkey siting on Gallop Green property.  They are seen quite regularly in the neighborhood, but not at our pool.  Lim said that he had to scare it away, and do so quickly, because all of the school buses were due to arrive any minute.  Usually the kids scream because they are so excited to see a monkey, which in turn makes the monkey scream, and then the kids get scared and scream even louder, and then the monkey could become aggressive.  Lim also told us that if we ever do see a monkey again, not to smile, as showing teeth is a sign of aggression to them.  Who knew!!

Anyhow, I wanted to share that story with you.  I just cannot believe that we saw a wild monkey within our first week of living here!!