Batu Caves

We started our day today with lamb, chicken, and pork in a variety of delicious sauces at an Indian restaurant next door to our guesthouse.  We also had an orange soda (a symbol that we’re really on vacation), tea, and a bottle of water.  It cost us 15 ringgit – about 4 US dollars.

Full and happy we hopped a bus to check out some caves and Hindu temples near Kuala Lumpur called Batu Caves.  We were greeted by some well fed (darn tourists!) monkeys and almost 300 stairs – which is a little daunting when it’s 90 degrees and 90% humidity.  Alas we survived the climb enjoying views back to Kaula Lumpur and the behind of one of the tallest Hindu statues in the world (over 200′).

The inside of the caves were adorned with statues carved out of the natural limestone that once found it’s home under the sea.  Devout Hindu worshipers chanted while tourists fed the roosters and monkeys – a strange mix of sanctity and circus.  Luckily it wasn’t crowded and we were able to find our own space inside the awesome setting.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the day came when we descended the stairs.  We noticed a small female monkey enjoying a Pepsi (with very good technique) and didn’t think much of it. Then the monkey swatted an oblivious passerby holding a soda.  Val was carrying an orange soda (theme developing) and let out quite a shout as the monkey charged her to quench its soda addiction.  I quickly came to her rescue with Teva sandals flying and hands clapping and off went the monkey.  Feeling triumphant it was my turn to hold the soda and head further down the stairs.  Then came a larger male soda junkie who had an eye for my pop, and a need to defend his woman’s honor.  We squared off, ladies at a safe distance behind us, me with my Tevas and he with foul breath and large teeth.  He charged but I held my ground then charged in return, to which he held his ground.  Though I outweighed the monkey by some 150 lbs he showed no fear, bearing his teeth, hissing and lowering down to show he could spring at me at any moment.  Unphased I kept a foot between us and tried to look as menacing as possible.  You could have cut the tension with a knife, but eventually he took off with his pride… but not my soda, hah!

Waiting for the bus we took jumping photos (the first of many we’re sure) and consoled Chori-Zo, who enjoyed the caves but was a bit camera shy in the heat.

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Scott Dusek is a writer and photography originally from Seattle, Washingon.