Ubud – kites and monkeys

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Ubud is an interesting place. A vibrant and historical place, a place of contrast, of unique architecture, quiet streets, many, many tourist shops. Market stall after market stall selling identical sarongs and big wooden penises. Good food at reasonable prices. Modern Balinese food. Over priced food. Cheap cart food. Many, many places selling cheap watered-down cocktails. Live music. Monkeys. Tourists.

It appears to be kite season. I have two separate encounters with kids and kites. One was late afternoon on my way back to the homestay. I am watching some local kids play at a small soccer field, some of them are flying a kite. The kite comes toward me as I stand on the street and then it is suddenly flying up the street at right angles to its previous direction. The kids start yelling and running in my direction. The kite string has become entangled around a motorbike rider and he drives off unaware, dragging the kite behind him. He notices as he rounds the corner, untangles himself and hands the kite back to the kids. They run back to park, all is well and the kite is soon back in the air.

My second encounter is the next day. I walk down the narrow alley from my homestay and a gang of excited kids aged between about eight to thirteen go past, most carrying kites. I pass them a little bit up the road outside a house, obviousy picking up mates on the way. A bit later they overtake me, running down the road, in high spirits, dodging traffic and laughing. Some are carrying enormous kites, some smaller ones, they look home made. They are on their way to fly them, I decide to follow and watch. They move quickly, much more adept at crossing the busy streets than me. I spy them going into the Monkey Forest carpark, but as I get there most of them have disappeared. I decide to leave them to their fun and go and visit the monkeys.

Monkey Forest, although seething with tourists, proved to be a worthwhile deviation. The monkey’s were cute, especially the babies. The gardens were full of intriguing statues and cool walks.

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