Thursday, April 23, 2009


Well even though I've had an amazing month traveling, I haven't been updating at all except for status updates on facebook. Sad eh? However, this last day trip me and Joe took is definitely worth writing about. And what makes this trip better than hanami in Kyoto? Monkeys!


On the way up to the park, monkeys were sprawled out in the road, and it was surprising to see the driver not slow down one bit or even move to the other side of the road. I definitely thought we'd witness some kind of horrible thing, but the monkeys just casually got up and slowly walked to the side of the road, following the car with their heads before returning to their positions. Once we got in the park, we were greeted by a little monkey and Joe put his hand down to say hello. Rather than being a gentleman and taking Joe's hand, the thing stole his ticket, ran away, and started eating it. I was ecstatic.

The next stop was at a feeding cage thing where we saw the monkeys going crazy for food. There was a man and his son inside a mesh cage, feeding screaming monkeys ripping each other off the fence to get their share. There were about 20 monkeys here and it was pretty impressive to see them all running around, screaming, and cleaning each other. There were two old men working here, and they kept the monkeys at bay with bamboo prodders and brooms. To get the monkeys' attention, they made a strange loud cooing sound, which we soon found to have much for power than we originally thought.


There were a few caged monkeys, including a baboon, and about 30 peacocks, but the best part of this whole adventure came at the end. We took our turn feeding a large group of monkeys further up the park, and were on our way down when we heard the same cooing sound from before. The old men were yelling as loud as they could this time, and we soon started seeing monkeys come out of the forest. At first just a few heads popped up over the brush, then more and more started to appear from the trees and by land. They just kept coming, and soon there were at least a couple hundred monkeys around us. I wish I had taken pictures of this chaos, but I really had no clue what was going on and was frozen in place.


There came a final coo sound, and all the monkeys started running across the street we were on towards one of the buildings. The first few that got there were led down to another area, and once all the monkeys were out of the forest, we followed the migration to check out what was going on. It was feeding time, and while the monkeys went crazy when we fed them, watching hundreds of monkeys fight in a big cluster for food was absolutely insane. Mothers carrying children were getting chased away or thrown, small babies bitten by bigger monkeys, and there was even a multi-colored mangy looking punk monkey that nobody messed with. To describe this in words, or even pictures, is pretty difficult. It was one of the most amazing, craziest, things I've ever seen, and even though the taxi to get to the park was expensive, it was well worth it.


After the feeding, I thought I'd try and communicate with the monkeys on a simple level. At first I tried offering one a sip from the cap of my water bottle, showing him that it was ok by taking a capful myself. When I put the cap out for him to take, he looked at me for a while and then made a strange grimacing smile type thing that was frightening. I tried a few more times with other monkeys, trying to give them rocks that they were collecting among other things, but nobody took to me. Maybe next time.

We also went to the beach and ate a lot of free samples of bread with olive oil made from olives grown on the island, so overall, the trip was pretty great even though we had a few mishaps with buses. I've got some drawings to post too, but they'll have to wait till next month when I get more space on Flickr. Maybe I'll finally get some of them Kyoto pictures up to, we'll see what the month brings.