The other day I found myself using the phrase “normal monkeys.”
Somehow Asian culture and wildlife has been creeping into the “normal” sanction of my thoughts. I realized this the other day while riding a cable car above the Jungle on the island of LangKawi. The cable car takes you up, over the jungle to an observation deck on the peak of a mountain. This in itself is beautiful and holds one’s attention, but another thing that caught my eye was a cluster of monkeys…different monkeys. These were not the “normal monkeys,” (gray-brown creatures with an ornery affection for purses and lunch-bags but an otherwise squirrel-like presence in the trees.) These were dark-faced versions: more wild-looking. I doubt these critters would have been tamed enough to approach us.
That night we spotted them again at a park that had already closed down for the evening. We were on our way along the still-accessible trail to take a dip in the waterfall’s pool, but to get there, we had to make our way through these monkeys as they poked about at trash cans and dropped food. A hornbill brought our attention above, and no sooner had we exclaimed over this bird than these dark monkeys stole our attention yet again. They didn’t walk on the pavement before us like the others, but instead hung about in the tree tops where the oncoming night masked them and turned them into dim shadows. They clanked on the roof and perched on limbs above us, but otherwise stayed out of our way. They remained mysterious.
Not like the normal monkeys…
The next day, the normal monkeys became even more familiar. We had boarded a boat to one of Langkawi’s many islands and it happened to be teaming with wildlife, though I use the word “wild” lightly. While a group of muskippers had caught my attention on the muddy banks of the water, a cluster of monkeys was eying my camera bag. I turned around and saw monkeys lounging around everywhere. One of them leaped up and tugged on a woman’s skirt, attempting to grab her purse. Another lunged at a woman who hat sat next to him to catch a photo. The devilish little creatures were hunting for anything that might fall out of a bag. There’s something about bags that seemed to attract them. I saw one walking boldly toward me with his eyes on my camera bag. I have to admit, it was frightening. Suddenly I thought of all the cheesy sci-fi thrillers that begin with disease-ridden monkeys. I backed up slowly and clutched my camera bag to my side until the monkey lost interest.
Despite the temporary feeling of fear…I couldn’t resist trying to grab a photo with the beastly little imps.