High up in the mountains of middle Myanmar, near the ancient capital of Bagan, there are strange tales of a buddhist monastery that sits amongst the clouds. According to legend, thousands of possessed monkeys descended upon the place a millennia ago and to this very day still haunt the only stairway that allows entry into this magical place.
Doomed human spirits that had neglected to bestow copious amounts of cash and valuables upon their local Pagodas, were cursed by the monks and their souls remained forever latched to the poor befuddled primates (a common saying among them is to have a human upon one’s back)
As I rode my motorcycle warily up the twisty perilous road, the mighty monastery could be seen looming up into the sky-it was as if it had been carved out from the very mountain itself.
Upon nearing the entrance I could hear the screams of befuddled tourists and locals alike as they tumbled naked from the entrance, minus all of their belongings.
I wondered in amazement as to what horrors lay before me, hundreds of metres up into the sky.
Parking my motorbike in the VIP section (which was basically a shoveled out section from one of the massive piles of rubbish and monkey shit that surrounds the place) and gathering my wits, I started up the stairway.
Monkeys were everywhere, hanging from trees, fornicating on the Buddha relics, shitting all over the steps and fighting amongst themselves. All of them were dressed in stolen human clothing- some monkeys had even set up stalls and were pandering their wares at ridiculously inflated prices. One fat beast wearing a Hawaiian shirt and hipster glasses tried in vain to sell me a toy wooden frog for 10 bananas apiece! The gall of these heathen animals!
I continued my journey up the steep stairway through the masses of primates, passing a group that were smoking cigars and playing some kind of card game. One of them was dressed in a monk’s robes and appeared to be the leader. He was too busy talking on his mobile phone to heed me any notice so off to the very precipice I went, kicking off the swarm of monkeys that had grabbed hold of my legs and had begun trying to remove my pants.
Arriving at the summit I noticed in amazement a legion of monkeys dressed in pilfered Burmese Army fatigues watching Planet of the Apes on a massive plasma screen. The smell of shit and piss was suffocating. I turned and slowly started creeping my way down the thousands of stairs to freedom.
Nearing the bottom stairwell, a raucous explosion of monkeys dressed in all manner of stolen touristy clothes, came tumbling around the corner in front of me. Armed with go pro selfie sticks as weapons they began bludgeoning my body all over, yelling in monkey-speak something along the lines of:
“Someone get his Chuck Taylors!, I’m sick of wearing these cheap Chinese ripoffs we stole from that last hairless bastard!”
I bolted towards the door that the devil-monkeys had barricaded with piles of plastic straws and bananas, then smashed into it with all my might.
I exploded into the street, showering the bewildered tourists waiting at the gate with splinters of wood and globs of banana mush. Covered head to toe with screaming, rabid primates I launched myself onto my Honda and tore off down the mountain.
“Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty apes!” I screamed
Every bump on the road I encountered, a bunch of them would fall off screeching with anger and disappointment. Converse shoes must be huge in Myanmar since the internet became free from military censorship!
The last beast had dropped off into the jungle just as my bike backfired and spluttered to a halt. Dismounting, I turned and looked back up at the mountain. At the top of the hill were two monkeys, one with what looked to be a full Jerry can of petrol and the other with a siphon hose and funnel. Both were grinning and giving me the finger.
God damn you monkeys. God damn you all to hell.
kilometres travelled -8790
flat tyres -1 and a half
crap toy wooden frogs purchased from monkeys dressed as hawkers -1
Here’s where to find Monkey Temple (Mount Popa)….