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Queen Of The Apes

Nobody told us about the monkeys.

We thought we were prepared to live and travel in Asia.
We had our passports. We had our shots.
We had the right clothes, luggage, and frequent flyer cards.
We were ready.
We even knew how to say "hello", "thank you", and "I'm sorry, that's not English" in five different languages.

But no one mentioned monkeys.

Our first simian encounter came in Japan.

Glenns' Wonderings

I thought Africa and South America had cornered the monkey market.
Sure, I knew that a few scrambled around the bowels of Borneo - but Japan?
Have you ever seen a monkey in a samurai movie?
Or woodblock prints of geisha and monkeys?
Neither had I.

We were hiking near Osaka when I spotted my first wild monkey, in a river gorge.
I climbed down onto a boulder for a photograph.
I took the picture and smiled.
Then he charged.

Wild monkeys don't wear little red outfits and do flips for loose change.
When they see something they want, they go after it, and they're mean enough to get it.
Apparently, he wanted my camera.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I was perched on this boulder and couldn't just turn and run.
So I sat, helplessly.
I guess he was surprised I didn't run, because he stopped short of me.
It seems I had unwittingly called his bluff, so he left, while I climbed out of the gorge, feeling a little lucky.
We then continued our hike, to the sounds of water, birds, and children having their food stolen by furry hooligans.
But since that day, I've always kept one eye out for monkeys.

Our next meetings occurred in Bali, where Angie - Queen of the Apes - developed her unique rapport with monkeys.
In the Monkey Forest of Sanur, one attempted to climb up Angie to reach the bag of peanuts she was holding over her head.
I know what you're thinking. 
"Peanuts in a monkey forest? Who would expect a problem?"
Anyway, he grabbed her shorts, but they had an elastic waist. 
Instead of the monkey going up, the shorts were coming down.
I was laughing, snorting actually, but managed to yell, "Throw the peanuts". She did.

Another time, she was sitting quietly with a friendly little guy, until he suddenly decided to grab her breast. When she pushed him away, he tried to bite her arm.

So, Angie and the monkeys were no longer on speaking terms.
She figured that she would leave them alone and they would leave her alone.
She was wrong.
A week later, at the seaside temple of Uluwatu, one of the little troublemakers pulled a stealth attack from a wall behind her and grabbed a hair clip right off her head.

And word had traveled. In Singapore, a SWAT team of primates pulled a raid on her daypack, stealing a bag of pastries from it.
That was the last straw.

I don't know what happened in Kuala Lumpur, but Angie and the apes came to an agreement.

As we passed through the gauntlet of monkeys at Batur Caves, she fixed them with a steely gaze. 
They backed off.
There would be no incident that day. Or since.

The last time we saw a monkey was in Guilin, China, but he kept his distance.
His eyes targeted someone else.
Consider yourself warned.

GH 07/00
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