Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Monkey Business

On the first Sunday of June, 2014 we had the opportunity to go to Johannesburg to visit with our friend, Elder and Sister Davies. On Monday they took us to enjoy the monkey adventure.   This picture was taken at the entrance to the park before we went through the double doors that help keep the monkeys on the compound.
This is Elder and Sister Davis.  We met them at the Mission Training Center (MTC) in Provo.  They are also CES Missionaries but they are stationed in Johannesburg.  We enjoy their company and sweet spirits.  It is also fun to talk with people who know just how you feel about what you are doing.  We have learned a great deal from these wonderful people about how to do our job better.  They are lucky enough to be only a short distance from the area office as well as the CES Office where Elder Tasara Makasi and Elder Khumbulani Mdletshe work.  These two wonderful gentleman were just called to be area authorities for the Church of Jesus Christ of Later-day-saints.

This is our guide who lead us through the compound.  He introduced us to the monkeys and told us about what kind they are and how the compound got the monkeys.   He explained that most of the monkeys where rescue animals and those that have names came from people that could not take care of them anymore.  Much of the path was a wooden plank deck that wondered through the trees and up the sides of the hills.  The monkeys walked freely around us and swung in the trees.  We were warned before we went into the compound that the monkeys are kleptomaniac and would steel anything they could get their hands on.  They are expert pick pockets and it is very difficult to get things back that they steal so we had to be very careful.

We first saw the monkeys in the trees at a distance but as we walked further they seemed to be curious and we started seeing them come closer.  I am surprised at how many times their little hands would reach for a pocket without the person even realizing it.

I wish I could remember the kinds of monkeys they had and their names. Our guide told us but I did not bring a paper to write it down so it is lost to me.  The monkeys walked rights buy us, sometimes paying attention to use and then sometime just ignoring us altogether.

This little fellow was very brave and a bit of a mischief maker.  He was the first monkey to interact with us to any extent.  In fact he came up to a teenage girl who was afraid of him and managed to get her water bottle.

 He was quite a character.  He claimed the bottle for himself and the young lady was more than glad to let him have it.  She did not want anything to to with him.  Before the day was over though, she ended up having an encounter up close and very personal as he tried to climb on her.  It took everything in her not to screen.  Everyone just kept telling her to stand still and not be afraid when he started climbing on her from the deck railing.  Her reaction was really quite cute to watch.

 He throughly enjoyed "her" water bottle.  We watched him for quite a while as he drank and played and then drank some more.  He loved playing with the bottle.

The young lady with the white hat on was the owner of the water bottle.  As you can see she is not to thrilled with the monkey so close.  I stood very still hoping the monkey would climb up for a ride, but he did not, at least not then.

I kept talking to the monkey, trying to convince him that it would be ok to climb right up, but he would have none of that.  He did eye my water bottle longingly but I was not so nice to share with him.

This tree was very interesting.  The trunk twisted and wound around itself many times.  It was such a beautiful and interesting tree that the walkway was built around it in stead of chopping down the tree.  

We followed the winding path through thick under brush but the trail was very clear.  We saw and heard monkeys in the trees and occasionally some of them were brave enough to come close but our little friend from the water bottle incident kept following us as we negotiated the trails and paths.  We came to a swinging bridge.  It made me think of Indiana Jones movies.  I could so imagine being right there as Harrison Ford had his great swinging bridge adventures. 

Sister Davies was the first in our group to become a monkey taxi.  The monkey climbed up and settled in for a ride.

The monkey really liked this position best and continued to ride for quite a while before finally exiting his taxi only to come back again a short time later.  He must have got off and on 4 or 5 times.

 The swinging bridges were a lot of fun.  I was surprised that I was not afraid of them.  It was a bit hard to walk on them sometimes because some of the people were swaying them and having a grand time.  We crossed three bridges I think.

Our monkey friend couldn't decide which taxi he preferred and almost went onto Elder Davis but as they started to walk Sister Davies won out by a land slide.

After walking for better than half an hour the monkey finally decided to change taxi drivers. 


He decided to climb right up and the fun began.

 He just grab some hair and hung on for dear life

 I was a bit worried about my glasses.  I did not want to have a war with a monkey to get them back.  I am sure he would have taken them and run if he had really wanted them.  There was a larger dark monkey named Sally that is known to be the glasses thief.  Luckily for us she was too busy to bother with us when we came by her.

This is what you call up close and very personal.  He was actually grooming me.  Hunting for lice I am sure.  (He did not find any)  I was a bit surprised at how much the monkey weighed.

 I taxied the monkey for several minutes.  I hope he enjoyed the view.

He finally got down and off he went, but never going too far away.  He never did climb on any of the men in our group.  I guess he just likes girls.  The Davies had more pictures but we did not get them from them so you will just have to take my word for the fact that we saw lots of other monkeys and some picturesque scenery.  I loved the way the trails meander all through the undergrowth.  You could go on a dozen different trails and have a new adventure every time you come.  We really loved our monkey adventure.

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