Thursday, February 11, 2010

My Backyard, the Zoo

I woke up this morning to what sounded vaguely like a cat at my window. I opened my eyes and looked out of my mosquito net toward the curtains through which I could see a shadowy figure. How could that cat have gotten up to the second storey? Then a small hand reached through the bars, blindly fumbling around on my side of the curtain. Barely awake and without contacts, it took me a few seconds to realise that the exploratory paw belonged to a monkey. By the time I got to the window he was gone, but when I pulled back the curtains and looked outside I saw that our entire backyard had become a monkey playground! At one point I managed to count about twenty monkeys. The adults were mostly spread out along the surrounding wall with a few scattered around on the ground. The babies, about five of them, appeared to be learning to climb. There is a small tree right next to a taller palm on which they were testing their skills. As they leaped from branch to branch on the small tree they also took the opportunity to tackle each other. At times they were hanging from each other as well as the tree, giving the impression of a live version of that toy, Barrel of Monkeys. The older babies were leaping from the small tree up to the palm fronds. They would land in the middle at the top of the frond and usually slide back down, dropping off the end into the tree below in a manner uncannily similar to the leaf-controlled falling in Avatar. As I was enjoying this somewhat surreal scene, I heard a strange sound outside my side window and pulled back the curtain to see two monkeys snacking on a fresh coconut two feet from me. Then Liza came running into my room, laughing. While she was doing her morning yoga on the roof one of the monkeys had sneakily stolen my underwear from the clothes line, slipped it over his head and one arm, and started to run off with it. Liza chased after him, yelling and he dropped it onto the lower roof as he made his escape. We both agreed that if there were a next time I would willingly forgo a pair of pants in favour of the photo-op!

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