{ A Monkey Story }

Hello : }

** I was right in the middle of writing the 2nd part of the { On the Road .. again .. } post, and I'm not sure how I started thinking about monkeys (how does one ever start thinking of monkeys ?? Self reflection ??) .. and anyway, I started writing this as a facebook status .. which turned out to be too long, so I made it a blog ; )

And ... super-organized juwels dug up some pics from this very location : )

for the loVe of ...  Mon- keys ; ) 



   When juwels and I were on our honeymoon in Thailand, we came across a little guest house, kind of a fancy one by our standards, but we pulled our motorbike in there just to sit in the garden and eat a plate of pad thai or sip a fresh squeezed juice .... and then we noticed a monkey, two monkeys, standing on a wooden deck beneath the awning of a tiny house.

   They turned out to be pets of the owner, a friendly German guy who spoke perfect English. The monkeys had neck collars and chains ... but they seemed to have enough freedom to be always jumping from thing to thing.

   The owner told us that the bigger male monkey, named Som Won, would sit on the porch outside his bungalow and guard the house by night. And if anybody walked up, he'd go nuts and wake the guy from his slumber. He also said that monkeys live for about 45 years, and that if they really love their owner, that most times they'd have to be shot or put down if the owner died before them ... not wanting to go with anyone else, becoming aggressive or depressed.

   The smaller monkey, Zai, used to jump on the owner's shoulder and pick through his short-cropped hair. I don't think the little girl ever actually found anything in there, but she used to bring her little pinchers up to her lips anyway ... force of habit? Oral fixation?

   I'm sure she'd picked the grizzly male monkey free of his flees twice before breakfast, so she jumped on the occasion to perch on any new shoulder and monkey around for grubs .. even imaginary ones. ..

   I wanted so badly to let that little monkey sit on my shoulder and investigate my hygiene ... but they were also mean. Yes, mean. They'd lunge at the chance of a passerby, choke themselves on the leash, bare their teeth, catch a shirt sleeve, jump in the air and scream.

   I don't think that they'd really attack somebody for any length of time if they were off the leash .. but they were just making sure everybody knew their place in line ... that is, below them.

   But they would bite. That we were told. 

   We stopped in there a lot in the month that we were in that little town ... buying a drink was reason enough to get you into even the nicest of places for a little people watching .. or primate watching.

   The monkeys would watch everyone, very carefully, I'm sure out of boredom but also because they liked to study our habits. And at one point, the small monkey, sick of grooming a clean scalp, reached down from her little perch on the owner's shoulder, grabbed the cigarette out of his mouth and stuck it in hers ... problem was, she'd stuck it in the wrong way, burning end first. And she screamed and flicked it away from her mouth with shaky little hands.

   The look on her face was classic, so human and raw and real. It was that look of fright, confusion and disbelief. She sprung away from the man, not knowing what kind of magic it was that she just fell victim to, and we all laughed.

   But even though the monkeys liked to watch and look ... they wouldn't look you in the eyes. They'd glace in the eyes of their owner, but they avoided real eye contact. Maybe afraid they'd see something in us they didn't want to know?

   Anyway, one of most interesting things about them, and the reason I started writing this memory at all, was when the owner explained to us that they liked to use a mirror to secretly look into your eyes.

   He located a small plastic mirror from the front desk and handed it over to the bigger monkey, and the monkey turned away from us at once and slowly held the mirror out to his side, about level with his elbow.

   He grasped it naturally in his five fingers and positioned it, and as he was studying me, I could see his frowning brown face and bashful eyes. He studied me and juwels both for a long while, and then we buzzed off on our motorbike in search of coconut ice cream or mango sticky rice.

Those were good times .. when something new would happen everyday.

Okay - that's a wrap.

I have another monkey story from Viet Nam, it's a good one .. and I'll tell it if you're all good little boys and girls : }