Sunday, July 31, 2011

Everybody needs a monkey

A hug is like a strange you haven't finished yet. - Copernicus
The Bloggess recently posted about buying herself a stuffed monkey.  It's an awesome post, and if you don't read it, you really are missing out.  So go read it, and come back here.  I'll wait.

All of this talk about monkeys makes me miss one that I befriended in Ecuador.  (They're so cute!)  Picture this:  The year is 2008, you're in a damp rainforest miles away from any kind of road or town.  Civilization is long gone, a day up the river by canoe, and the plants slowly creep towards you.  The sounds are rain and insects and the deep drone of bees.

Out of the green that invades the air, a shot of black appears and launches itself at you.  Say hello to Pancha.
Pancha is a monkey saved from poachers in Cuyabeno rainforest.  She lives at the Samoa camp ground with the guides who saved her.  Because she has spent so much time with people, she has become tame...

She eats with the tourists (sometimes off your plate if you're not careful), plays with the tourists, and even drinks from the sink.
Seeking refuge under the table...for the moment
And guess where her favorite place to sit is....that's it, on your shoulder, with her tail wrapped around your neck.  From this position, she will launch herself towards different items that interest her.  Of course, she holds on...with her tail.  It actually feels like the tail is stronger than her arms, which it might be...I'll have to google that at some point.  At first it's really odd to feel her holding on with her extra appendage, but you get used to it the longer she plays with you.
Do you see how the tail wraps around the neck?
The person who loved her the most is very likely my nephew.  They became close friends while we visited the jungle.  When we'd get back to camp every afternoon, she'd eventually make her way onto his shoulder.

Anyway, the point is, if you read The Bloggess's article, that a monkey really could strangle you, even a really cute one like Pancha.  She will, however, probably use her tail, and you wouldn't know until it was too late.

Fortunately for Pancha, she is not a homicidal monkey.  Nor is she being sold in a store.  (Nor is she a klepto like the monkeys I ran across in Costa Rica...they'll swing down and grab your hat off your head, or try to take your backpack).  She is living free and happy in her home.

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