“Put the chips on the ground Eva. Now your Coke. Good. Let’s just slowly back away. Nice… It’s working. Wait! They want my latte, too…Ok we’re good. They’re gone.”
Evil people weren’t holding us up to take our snacks. Monkeys were. Only they weren’t evil. They were wild and had invaded the waiting area at the airport.
I wore a lot of hats in South Asia, but the Mom hat was always on. Two others were picking up visitors at the airport and having random, strange incidents with monkeys. My daughter and I have never been interested in Curious George books or movies because seeing monkeys became as common as seeing squirrels in the USA. Although it never stopped being entertaining.
A team of volunteers had arrived in our country. Daniel was busy with other work so Eva and I were the welcome committee. Depending on the weather and flight delays, meeting guests meant a one to two hour wait, usually in heat or cold. We sat in a concrete room, half open to the outdoors, full of black metal chairs. I was always prepared with an iPad full of children’s TV shows, some toys, and snacks.
Eva and I were walking from the car to the waiting room. She was already enjoying chips and a small coke and I had a latte. We didn’t know a vendor was selling food in the waiting area and had drawn the attention of a small troop of monkeys. Normally no one sold food in there and we had never seen monkeys at the airport before.
Apparently they were angry and hungry. Seeing our snacks, they began screeching and inching toward us slowly, but aggressively, baring sharp yellow teeth (or should I say fangs?). That’s when I calmly gave instructions to Eva about her snacks, hoping and praying it would work. Thankfully it did.
The troop snatched our food and ran. Monkeys stealing sodas and chips wasn’t a new thing, but a monkey with a latte? Our family had fun for weeks inventing jokes about that one. It all happened too fast to get a picture with my phone. And honestly in the moment I could only think about not being bitten or chased.
Of course we attracted a crowd of onlookers, phones in the air. An entertaining sight…red haired foreigners, mom and daughter, being held up by monkeys. How exciting. I suppose I could have checked to see if anyone would have been willing to text a picture or video to me because they were certainly making lots of them. Perhaps it’s on youtube and I don’t know it.
More Mom & Daughter Monkey Adventures:
-While hosting a group from the USA we visited a temple and tourist area. A monkey slapped little Eva on the bottom, stole her snack, then ran away. No need to explain to onlookers that she was a resident, not a tourist, when she rolled her eyes and flashed the look of, “I’m so tired of this happening!” Fists balled at her side in frustration, she yelled, “That’s supa inappwopwiate!” (“super inappropriate” for readers who don’t speak Early Preschooler).
-During kindergarten Eva was homeschooled. One morning as I was writing on the whiteboard, I looked out the classroom window to see a small monkey, head resting on hand in The Thinker pose, watching me teach phonics. He only stayed through Short Vowel Review.
-My friend’s children ran into her flat during homeschool recess to report that monkeys were playing on their swing set. Their mother told them to get back to work and they obeyed, but a few minutes later she looked outside to see it was true. They particularly enjoyed the swings.
-We were visiting the zoo once. A monkey who did not live at the zoo walked in with us, sat in front of some animal enclosures to observe other wildlife, then left. He really enjoyed the monkey enclosure. Our friend wondered if he was hiding a “shiv” inside a banana to pass on to the zoo monkeys for planning an escape.
-One of our family’s favorite weekend pass-times was visiting the local bookstore then eating at KFC. A large window in the restaurant provided the opportunity to enjoy lunch while watching monkeys play at the temple across the street. A slanted metal roof was the sliding board. Power lines were swinging ropes (thankfully we never saw electrocuted monkeys). And unsuspecting tourists having their snacks stolen was free entertainment.
Eventually I will have to share about the morning I was surprised to eat a cockroach with my breakfast. And the man who enjoyed running around with a bag of snakes. But the monkey stories are enough for today.
©2017 Chrissy Winslow – All Rights Reserved
Here is a link to an interview with Tina Fey. She describes her favorite scenes in the movie she narrated, Monkey Kingdom. The sights and sounds are familiar to our family, especially the mischief caused by the monkeys when they arrived in the city. DisneyNature did an incredible job with this film.