68100 Batu Caves, Selangor, Malaysia
Ancient Temples and Modern MonkeysI know I'm supposed to be focused on the incredible historic value of the site, the beauty of the Hindu temples, the vista from the mouth of the cave after climbing almost 300 steps to the top, the hand-crafted flower garlands draped devotedly over the holy statues......but for me the day was made by the local wildlife. The heavy rains kept the long-tailed macaque monkeys away initially, but a break in the storm brought many of them out to stalk the tourists. I spent well over an hour on the steps watching the bold critters coordinate their efforts to grab items from the hands of human climbers. Shrieks of surprise followed by fits of laughter were the typical responses of the people who were targeted. One little boy is now likely traumatized for life by the experience he had, but overall it was a chance to watch adaptability in progress. The monkeys clearly had the upper-hand and seemed content with the vengeance they wreaked on the invaders of their jungle. People passed warnings up and down the steps as to where the monkeys were lurking, and, if warned quickly enough, were able to protect their goods. Entertainment seemed to be had by both sides.
Oh yeah, and the temples at the top of the steps did manage to garnish some attention as well.