Stop That Monkey!

There’s something that seems completely crazy about posting this tonight, what with the pins and needles so many of us have been on watching the unfolding disaster in Japan and wondering whether it was going to wreck more havoc on our beloved Hawaii. It seems everyone there is breathing easier and probably fast asleep, finally. But for folks in Japan, this disaster is still unfolding and what a horror it is. I can only hope some peace will be found amongst all the rubble.

So, for a little comic relief, and in honor of these Khmer people who inspire me so … we move on, we keep on living and laughing, even as devastation is in our midst, even as we send out prayers and blessings to the Japanese people, still we find the laughter in our soul!

So, I am here to tell you a story about one particularly monkey that I had a run in with recently. This already feels like some time ago, but it’s too crazy of a story to let go.

Petra (who I’ve yet to write about, but will, soon!) and I were touring around the ruins of Angkor Wat, which we did for several days together. The pace we created was lovely – although we went from dawn ‘til dusk, we did so with ease and took our time everywhere we went – she was great company and a fine addition to my time there. But this story isn’t about her, not directly anyway, although she can verify the truth of this silly scene!

It was in the late afternoon and already we had had a full day of temple ruins – we were returning to take in the sunset. As we were riding with Dohn, our tuk-tuk driver who was with us for some days, we saw monkeys along the side of the road and both of us started yelling like crazy people – “stop, stop, monkeys!”

So, as Dohn did every time we asked him for something, he responded to our request immediately and pulled over to the side of the road and joined us in getting out of the tuk-tuk and checking out the monkeys. There were loads of them; and when we came out, loads more appeared. Dohn was particularly taken with the mamas and their babies and he got into the excitement too, pointing them out to us – “look, babies!”

From the time I was a child when my father took me to the zoo (a very early and fond memory of time with my father, which sadly was cut so short by his early death), I’ve always been mesmerized with the monkeys. I think many of us humans are – it’s like looking in a mirror; and my mind just takes off imaginatively  as I can spend hours watching their every move. I’m taken with their eyes, their hands, their human-like qualities – I wonder, are they as taken with us?!

We were clicking our cameras like crazy, trying to capture their antics, their running from tree to tree, their preening one another and especially the ways that mamas and babies were interacting – it was so, so cute!

I mean, look at these two cuties!

And these!

And this, my favorite, shot – note how mama keeps babe nearby!

As we were busy being totally enthralled with these crazy critters, one of their buddies was up to something – I looked over at the tuk-tuk at one point and noticed a monkey had climbed in and was hanging out in there – I got a kick out of that and yelled over to Petra and Dohn to have a look-see at what I thought was a friendly guest in our chariot. And this is where the photos stop because we  all got a bit too busy at this point to keep snapping the cameras!

Ohyes, there was certainly a monkey in our tuk-tuk and there was also a ziplock bag with my swimsuit in there that I had from my lunch-time swim at Petra’s hotel. It had been safely tucked away on the floor .. safely that is, until our friend the monkey discovered it and before our very eyes, came running out of the tuk-tuk with it in his mouths, his hands – I don’t know exactly the carrying process, but I know he had it and was running away, away, away with it!

In my zeal to pack most incredibly lightly, you might recall, I brought along only one bathing suit (well, actually one bottom and two tops I could interchange with the bottom). I hadn’t even made it to the beach part of my trip yet and now some smart aleck monkey was running off with my one and only bathing suit. Oh, and don’t be so quick to say, “what’s the big deal, certainly you could get another bathing suit.” Not so easy. Because, you see, I am in the land of the little people – I tried to buy a t-shirt in the market place and the XXL looked like it was about a size 2. So finding a bathing suit for this traditionally-built body was not such an easy option. I was frantic. And shocked that this was happening. The monkey was really running off with my suit! I started yelling and running after it, but far in front of me was Petra, with a rock in her hand, yelling at it, too. And Dohn, shocked right along with us, also had something in his hand – I hadn’t thought to pick anything up, but I had quite a crew surrounding me!

The monkey was in a stand-off with Petra – as she got closer, it began growling at her – I warned her to take care – “geez, don’t worry about the bathing suit , don’t let it bite you!”

And then, before we knew it, that monkey, that damn monkey was running as fast as it could, well, climbing, I guess – running/climbing up a tree. And I swear this is true – it got to the top of the tree (still, with my bathing suit in tow) and it looked down at us (at me particularly, I’m sure!) and it just sneered, like it was sticking out its tongue, making that nahhh-nahhh-nahhh-nahhh-nahhh sound, you know the one I mean. Maybe it didn’t exactly say that, but it certainly had that look on its face.

And on our faces? Incredulity. We all looked at each other in shock – I looked over at Dohn like he was supposed to do something or know something to do (I mean, what do I know about how to deal with monkeys – maybe as a local, he’s got some kind of inside scoop on this sort of thing!). No such sense of knowing appeared on his face. What could we do? Nothing! The monkey wasn’t coming down and well, there was no way any of us could even begin to get anywhere near it!

Ohmigod, ohmigod, how could this be happening! What am I going to do??!!

Still, we stood there, looking up at that damn monkey, yelling at it – but it just sat up there, unfazed and gloating. Yes, it was, it really was gloating, I swear it was!

Before long, the bag suddenly came flying down out of the tree and landed on the ground not far away from us. I looked up cautiously – the monkey was still clear up on the top – and I ran over, grabbed the bag and ran back to the safety (ha!) of the tuk-tuk!

Seems the monkey realized there was nothing the least bit sumptuous for it to enjoy in that bag and decided I really did need it more than it did. So it generously tossed it back – good monkey, good monkey! LOL

This wasn’t the same monkey that pulled these shenanigans, but I could have told you it was and you would have believed me!

Anyway, once the bathing suit was back in hand – we all had a good, hearty laugh all our way back to town and now that I’m at the beach, I’m sure happy I still have my swim suit!

So, maybe they’re cute to look at, but watch out for their <ahem> monkey business!

Here’s one final one …

Yeah, well, good-bye to you, too!!

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