Mine is from the Ubud Writers festival, with the theme of travel.
A large drop of water dripped onto his shoulder from the green banana leaf above. The early morning rain had been heavy but the ever increasing heat had already evaporated the puddles on the path. The sweet smoke filled the air as the neighbourhood burnt their rubbish. He had lived in this area all his life but it was no longer recognisable from the unkempt jungle of his youth.
Nowadays his favourite activity was to watch the new families move into the villas. If there were little ones, he knew there would be food left out overnight, that he could come back and steal later. They would squeal with delight and run in and out of the rooms, opening and closing every door in the compound. Some stayed a long time, but most only stayed a week.
The houses and farms were almost all gone, and hotels, villas and shops filled the streets. Restaurants, too. Rats had no problem eking out their survival, but all other wildlife struggled, or had gone. His own family had left a long time ago, preferring to move up the mountains, and away from the crowds of tourists. He was too old to change.
Over time the noises had evolved, the chattering of birds was now drowned out by the drunken people, spilling into the streets. The crashing of the waves were no longer heard over the bass beats of the music in bars. The puttering of motorbikes was now a sophisticated drone. Only the laughter of children remained the same – the children were a different skin colour, but children none the less.
The flabby, pink people of the villas were strange. Some would arrive and never leave the grounds, preferring to eat in private, and have troops of ladies turn up throughout the day to paint their toes or rub their backs. Women would cook for them, clean for them then leave, barely saying a word.
Others would disappear for long hours in the day and night, returning with bags, and more bags. Eventually to leave with an extra suitcase, crammed with who knows what.
Some would arrive lily white and leave a dark brown. Others, a deep red. Hair would lighten, brown marks would appear on their faces. Change would occur, no matter how brief their stay.
One thing that still remained were the old buildings of the neighbourhood. Temples that had little offerings left early in the morning were hiding in between the shops and busy bars. People would pose for photos but rarely go inside. The last bastion of the old days. The trees were mostly gone, but the old ruins were intact. They were the perfect place to escape the heat of the day, before returning to the villas to find food. Occasionally there was something to eat in the offerings, but usually some clumsy tourist had trodden on it before it could be pilfered.
The new family in the villa were talking loudly. The little ones were shrieking and splashing in the pool. It looked like they were settling in for a while. Groceries were being unloaded into the kitchen. Bowls of fruit were taken to the coffee table. The clink of glass as bottles were put into the fridge.
The long-tailed macaque’s eyes wrinkled into a smile. He licked his lips and pulled them back to reveal his teeth. He grabbed a leaf from the tree to chew, passing the time while he watched the kids play. The strange habits of humans never ceased to entertain him.
After a while, having noted where the fruit was placed, he stretched his arthritic legs and climbed a little higher in the tree. He had several hours before it was safe to return, and it was now time to find some shade to sleep in. The old temple towards the beach would be empty, unless the dogs had got there first. The fight for shade could get fierce, and he was too slow to contend anymore. There was another villa a little further up that might be empty. He would try there first. Slowly he swung onto the roof and clambered away, into the mid-morning haze, planning to return when the moon rose high.
So link away, no need for comments unless you've a story to add. Back to business as usual next week, and enjoy the last week of the holidays.
Linking up with Essentially Jess for IBOT.