Posted by: hatzihatzi | June 3, 2012

Here there be monkeys

Consider yourself warned. Though I’m not sure why I’m posting this, as I don’t have many readers and I know at least one of you is petrified of monkeys. So if you are afraid of monkeys, stop reading now.

Still here? This is your last warning.

Ok, so, in Israel, I’m not sure how to put this, it doesn’t appear as though there are the same safety standards. I suppose you saw that in my picture of me and Q riding the camel sans helmet. In America, at everypony ride there are helmets for the wearing. But not, apparently, when you accept a ride on a much taller animal who will perform more dangerous feats (namely standing up and sitting down) from a Bedouin in Israel.

Outside of Jerusalem, there is a place called Monkey Park, which is exactly how it sounds–it’s a zoo for monkeys. I love monkeys. I do a fantastic monkey impression. I called Q Monkey during the first few months of his life. So much so that at about 9 months, he wouldn’t respond to his name, but he would respond to Monkey. So, naturally, I HAD to go to Monkey Park.

Monkey Park is great. They have monkeys from all over the world. They have peacocks running around. They have a fantastic jungle gym thing that is four floors of slides and ball pits. They have ropes things and climbing walls.

But one…potential problem with Monkey Park, is well, as I said, the standards of Israel appear to be different that those of America. The monkey enclosures–as zoos don’t tend to use cages anymore–are less than perfect. As a result, monkeys are wandering around the zoo watching you as they watch them. One monkey followed us around the entire park. It kept its distance, but it was it was very curious.

Another monkey, a macaque, did not keep its distance. When E, Q, and I were having lunch, the baby macaque decided to join us. E thought this was great (and I secretly did too) and wanted me to take his picture with the monkey.

Which I did.

But also, I know that as friendly as they seem, these are wild animals. Their friendliness is only curiosity, not any sort of domestication. And I don’t speak monkey. While I had no problems petting stray cats in Israel, I speak cat. I, generally, know when a cat is angry. I don’t know what passes for a sign of aggression in monkeys.

So as the monkey got more curious, I got more nervous and suggested we leave and quickly tried to pack up our belongings. Not quickly enough. The monkey made a move for my backpack. It was too heavy, so the monkey moved on, and grabbed Q’s sippy cup!

Q cried. I tried to comfort him and tell him that Q was a big boy now, whereas the monkey was just a baby, and therefore, the monkey needed the cup more than Q, and Q could use a big boy cup. E, however, tried to get the cup back, which I thought was pretty stupid! It was a one sheckle cup that we didn’t need. E made a move to the monkey to try to take it, and the monkey hissed at him! Now, I know I don’t speak monkey, but I did remember learning that showing teeth is a sign of aggression. So I told E to back off. Lesson learned, we continued through the park but kept close tabs on our cameras and other small items.

We made our way to Tarzan’s house, another play area for kids. E and Q went first while I took their picture.

We saw some more monkeys, went down some more slides, and a little bit later, Q wanted to return to Tarzan’s house, so I took him. As we turned into the house after climbing up the stairs, SURPRISE! There was a monkey in there! Not having any idea what these monkeys were capable of, I got nervous and tried to back away slowly. Heedless of any danger, Q ran forward. The monkey jumped from its perch and made a kissy face at Q. I screamed at Q, who ran back to me, and we hightailed it out of there.

So if you’re ever in Jerusalem, I recommend Monkey Park. Just keep close tabs on your belongings and watch your back.



  1. Awww…a kissy face? That sounds sweet. I mean, scary, but sweet. You would have made Hagrid proud.

    • I don’t know…I think he’d be ashamed that I ran away from a monkey and didn’t stroke his spine or something…

      • I think he’s more of a silver-lining kinda half-giant…he’d have viewed the sippy-cup situation as generous.

    • Ahh, ok. I’m glad Hagrid would be able to see the bright side of the situation. I thought it was adorable seeing the monkey drink from Q’s cup, and that’s what I tried to focus on too.

  2. Okay, I braved it because I wanted to see the pictures of your boys! [phew]

    No guarantees that I won’t have dreams about monkey pocket pickers tonight, but I DID IT!

    • Uh oh. I hope not! I was worried. Thanks for being so brave.

  3. Sounds like a really cool park! A zoo with free-roaming monkeys sounds cool, but I certainly hope there haven’t been any bad incidents. Like you say, you just never know what’s going to set a wild animal off.

    Your idea for getting Q to give up his sippy cup reminds me of how my cousin weaned her kids off of their pacifiers. She told them there were some baby birds living nearby, who needed the pacifiers. At night, the kids put the pacifiers outside on the doorstep, and in the morning they were gone (my cousin disposed of them while the kids were sleeping).

    • Aww! I love that story. Thanks for sharing.

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