This photo was taken a few months after I started traveling in 2017. In the photo, I’m sitting on the steps of the staircase leading up to the Batu Caves in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Batu Caves are a sacred Hindu site that is incredibly popular, both with the faithful and with tourists. It is a beautiful place, complete with giant statues of Hindu deities, several temples, and – how could it be different – scores upon scores of monkeys.
Up until that point, I had only encountered monkeys in Bali before. On Bali, monkeys are cheeky, greedy, and have no respect whatsoever towards humans most of the time. Perhaps foolishly, I thought these monkeys would be different.
I thought they were different because from what I could see around me, the monkeys interacted perfectly well with other visitors. Imagine my delight when I spotted a sole monkey, innocently sitting on the staircase railing.
When I approached, the monkey seemed friendly, accommodating even. So, sensing a photo opportunity, I took a seat on the staircase’s railing. Unfortunately, it seems that I misread the situation terribly.
In retrospect, I should have known better. The only reason for the monkey’s accommodating behavior was likely his anticipation of food. So, after shooting the camera a glance and waiting for what felt like five seconds, the monkey apparently decided it had had enough of my shit – and raised his objections to me wasting his precious time.
I would like to say I’ve become smarter when it comes to inter-species communication. At the very least, I don’t just sit down next to monkeys anymore.
This travel prompt is inspired by Robbie. Thank you!