Maybe it’s the winter.
Or maybe it’s because I just fell in love with a series called Outlander which is about a woman from the 40’s thrown back in time to 1743 where she gets caught up with a Scottish Highlander.
That led me to dreaming about an escape from NYC. Thick, dark forests, fog enshrouded moors, fairy mounds…… heck, might as well throw in a Scottish Highlander while I’m at it.
In any event, I have a case of wanderlust.
Bali is the first on my bucket list of places in the world that I would love the opportunity to photograph a wedding.
I can’t think of travel without thinking of one of my favorite places in the world: Bali.
I first went to Bali in 2000. I fell in love. I went back two more times after that. In 2008 I vowed I would land on Balinese soil for my 38th birthday. Which I did.
The first time I went to Bali, we stayed in Ubud and hired a driver to show us around Bali. We spoke of traffic and road rage. Ketut said to us: “In Bali if we have traffic, we get out of the car and we talk to each other.”
That is how I always think of Bali.
I also remember waiting for a traffic light and we all happened to look to our left where a roadside artist displayed his velvet paintings for sale. Prominently front and center was a large velvet painting of a reclining woman with a naked torso, a monkey sitting next to her pinching her nipple.
Ketut said out loud: “oh look at the painting! A monkey and a woman!” innocently. After he said it out loud he realized just what the monkey was doing and then he said “oh, a monkey AND a woman” in a softer tone as if he was trying to take away the attention to the detail he just pointed out before he realized what that painting was depicting. It was very cute.
I happen to love monkeys. Monkey Forest was my favorite place to visit. In 2008 I was in Bali as a single traveler so I was able to spend as much time in the monkey forest as I desired to without feeling bad! One morning I was at the edge of the forest waiting for it to officially open and the tiniest baby monkey was hanging out at the edge with other monkeys.
The thing with the monkeys – if you just hang out and be patient you will be rewarded. They will come sit on you, hang out, chill out and enjoy time with you. So this tiny monkey, he ended up sitting on my open palm. Chilling out, munching on a leaf.
He. Was. The. Tiniest. Cutest. Thing. EVER.
I preface this next paragraph with a fact. I have been around animals since before I could walk. I’ve raised and bred so many pets in my lifetime. I was either going to be a vet or an artist growing up. Animals were my life. I know animals. Very well.
Sometimes that damn cute factor takes over the logical brain. And well, I just HAD to pet that teeny, tiny, baby monkey. I saw my hand going up to its head even though I knew better. The mom, sitting just in front of us, reached out, tapped me and showed her teeth slightly.
“Don’t even think about touching my baby you human!”
Yeah. I know. I see those teeth. But cute and stupid brain has a hold of me.
Hand comes down.
No sooner than my fingertips grazed that baby did I suddenly feel a sting.
Momma bit my stomach.
She didn’t draw blood. She didn’t even break the skin. She could have done some serious damage. But she made her point. I’m forever thankful to that momma monkey.
And I’m forever thankful for that particular trip to Bali too.
I had met Steven right before going there and during the hottest parts of the day I spent it online at an internet cafe chatting with Steven and coming to find that I loved him dearly. He put reality into the scenario when he said “YOU WERE BIT BY A MONKEY?” and “DO YOU KNOW WHAT THINGS THEY CARRY?”
Btw, I was run through a bunch of tests and checked out by a doctor who had a connection to a “monkey specialist” in NY. Everything was fine.
And after that trip, 2 weeks getting to know Steven intimately, I got off the plane and told Steven I was his.
So I have a bit of a romantic soft spot for Bali. And I keep dreaming of what it would be like to photograph a wedding there. So it’s the top of my “weddings I want to photograph bucket list.”
And when I’m not shooting, you will find me communing with the monkeys in Monkey Forest.