Monkey See, Money Do

Updated: Jan 3

And what do monkeys do? They scratch and bite.

A gal I met in my hostel room in Krabi, Thailand got scratched by a monkey on her chest. She was holding a mango and it climbed onto her to get it, in the process it scratched her, luckily it wasn’t a deep wound. She needed to get two injections, one in each arm and then in a week, she needs another dosage. She got to the hospital within two hours so the doctors said not to worry, as she sat in a pool of her own tears.

I’ve seen The Office episode where Meredith gets bitten by the bat, so I assumed getting rabies was treatable, even slightly comical if Dwight is involved. Apparently if you actually get it, you die.

I adore animals and many moons ago I would have tried to pet them. Dogs, cats, monkeys, you name it. Until one major and one minor incident occurred.

Major incident

I was at the monkey park sanctuary thing in Bali, Indonesia. Here, you can buy bananas to hold in your hand and the monkeys will crawl up you to eat the produce. Do not touch the monkeys, reads the warning sign.

Normally I am not a rule breaker, apart from jay walking and occasionally not wearing my retainer at night but I just had to touch the damn monkeys.

One close by had its back towards me so I thought I would just swoop in for a quick pat.

The reaction of the single monkey alone was enough for me to poop my pants. Yet, it intensified when a hoard of its monkey friends bared their teeth and advanced around me, encircling me in a ring of anger. I was half laughing, half crying but all I could do was step backwards and say no no no no. My friends ran, leaving me to fend for myself.

To this day, I don’t even know how I escaped. A worker may have stepped in. I may have thrown a banana in the opposite direction as a diversion.

Either way, I thought I was going to die.

Minor incident

Flash forward some years when I’m in Gibraltar. There is a rock, you can’t miss it, since it makes up 95% of the peninsula. At the top of this rock are monkeys. Larger in size compared to the ones in Indonesia. They were insane. Signs everywhere said do not bring food up to the top and this time, I listened intently. Others did not. The monkeys grabbed peoples bags, throwing the contents out to retrieve sandwiches and other snacks placed at the bottom. As if the monkey can’t smell through layers. I left the scene hoping to not get bitten.

I took the high road and yet I was not rewarded. I shit you not, I’m standing on a pathway, taking some snaps of the view and/or foliage. No monkeys in sight. I’m chilling, minding my own damn business when a great beast jumps out of nowhere and nearly lands on me. You have never heard such a shrill, unsightly scream before.

Current situation

The monkeys in Thailand are vicious. At least the ones guarding/ hanging around the tourist areas or on one beach, on Koh Phi Phi Don appropriately named Monkey Beach. I didn’t want to go to Monkey Beach because my aunt who went said it was terrible. And she was so right. The problem was, basically every tour stops there so it was hard to avoid it.

I got off the long tail boat and there were monkeys everywhere. I stayed close to shore since apparently monkeys don’t like water. This is not a fact, it’s personal knowledge but it seems legit. When the long tail boat drivers started throwing pineapples, the monkeys went ballistic. A kind Irish gal I met used me as a human shield.

In Krabi town, there is a walk to these caves that I thought would be nice. Apparently you can’t get to them by foot though, which I found out later. I got to the entrance of this mango groves pathway leading to what I thought was the caves and there were monkeys galore. All fighting over plastic bags. I turned to leave because that scene screamed fuck no, when an old Thai man walks by, points to them and says bite. I thought yeah I’m out of here. But as I turn to go, he hands me a wooden stick and he says hit ground. You’d think I’d become wiser with age but nope. So I hit the stick on the ground and the monkeys scattered, albeit reluctantly. The path was lovely but I was so scared a monkey would jump out at me for no reason so I was on edge the entire time, smacking the stick on the ground. I got to the end of the path at the rivers edge and there was a tattooed monk smoking. We had a chat, I greatly offended him by trying to directly hand him my phone and by standing too close.

Then I turned around and walked back.

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