My phone woke me from my slumber, caller ID said Poway, CA. I closed my eyes and rolled over to catch some more z’s. I knew it was my job but whatever it was could wait. A few hours later, I called the number back and got a stranger’s voicemail. So I text my boss to see what was up, turns out I didn’t get the position I applied for back in December. (May I remind you it’s February.) Well, fuck that’s a shitty way to start the day. I popped some headphones in to better my mood and started getting ready. All the while my travel partner was giving me serious attitude, didn’t he know I had just got rejected for the third time despite all my hard work? I checked the time, 8:30am. I was seriously considering climbing back in bed and calling it quits for the day.

Out the door we went through the alley to our scooter and off into traffic. We needed bread and coffee so we stopped at a french bakery on the way to what we thought was our final destination for the day. The bakery was full and the service was swift. It was here that my day started to look up. While sipping cappuccino a blue and red beetle crawled into my lap and up my arm. I let the wait staff tell me it wasn’t poisonous before naming him Phillip and letting him walk around our table. With bread and coffee in our stomachs we headed to the Monkey Forest.

Not even 10 minutes into the monkey forest, my travel partner was bitten by a monkey. Yes, bitten. Why? Because he would not give her a banana. He usually carries neosporin everywhere but this time I had my backpack and tiger balm was going to have to suffice. I whipped it out of my bag and the monkeys immediately thought it was something they could eat but after I opened the lid the pungent smell detoured them. I applied a generous amount to the bite on his back and he just about screamed from the pain. It burns on open wounds but at least he’s not going to get sick. Catastrophe avoided? At least briefly and we got to continue the rest of our time with the monkeys, different areas of the temple and carvings. I was mounted quite a few times by the younger curious monkeys as we walked. I think they liked climbing on me because I was wearing a backpack and they could just hang out there. A tiny baby monkey tried to climb me but failed and ended up just smelling the anklet I wear to repel mosquitoes, gave me a very animated look of displeasure and continued on her way. As we were exploring the last part of the forest it started to drizzle which put a little pep in our step. After a few minutes the drizzle had escalated to a gentle rain, this is when I broke out my jacket and I’m glad I did because before I could finish zipping it up the sky turned black and it was pouring rain. We accidentally ended up leaving the park to hide out under a store front overhang. One thing we’ve learned is that the weather can change in an instant so we wanted to wait for the rain to pass.

5 minutes.. 10 minutes… 15 minutes we stood there and the rain kept coming. I watched the street flood before my eyes. I pulled out my poncho because my water resistant jacket just wasn’t going to cut it in this weather. My travel partner was itching for a beer but didn’t want to get his shoes wet since he’d somehow manged to keep them dry. So off into the street we went him barefoot in shorts and a t-shirt completely soaking wet after a quick dash across the street and me in a jacket and poncho but feet completely soaking wet. “I’ll trade you.” he said as we stepped into a pizza place about a block later. There was no way I was making that deal. Instead I sat to order a beer. When our waiter arrived with the ice cold delights we barely had time to say cheers before an electrical fire (it was still pouring rain) broke out at the convenient store next door. I ran to the back of the restaurant and my travel partner grabbed his beer before headed out into the street. “Claire get out here!” I heard over the loud crackling sounds but I was too scared to move.. let alone run past the box a mere 10 ft from the door that was sending sparks in every direction to get to the street. A crowd had gathered and smartphones were plentiful capturing our torment until someone grabbed the proper fire tool to extinguish the threat to our safety. There were about 8 of us in the restaurant and boy were we glad it was over. In the chaos my travel partner had braved the sparks to join me inside, in the event the building I was in had caught from a spark. He made a promise to my mom to get me home in one piece or whatever so.. you know.

The rain had finally stopped and our pizzas were out a few moments later. A bit overwhelmed with all the excitement from the day, I was content to silently eat my pizza. I’d reached capacity with regard to my energy level but I still had to get home. My travel partner teased that I would have to drive the scooter back since he was presently lost. We negotiated and agreed that if he wanted to be home within an hour and in one piece it was better if he drove and I navigated with my mental map of the area back to the bungalow. The deal was set and we were off. As we headed back, I couldn’t help but think about how happy I was that I didn’t go back to bed after all.


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