The monkey always wins.....

Trip Start Jul 05, 2010
1
8
Trip End Jul 27, 2010


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Where I stayed
Hostel Oasis, Grenada, Nicaragua

Flag of Nicaragua  , Granada,
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We spend 4 wonderful days in Granada. This is the most beautiful city I’ve seen in Nicaragua….it’s got colonial architecture that’s been reclaimed….it’s a city with art, culture, lots of local flavor, and it’s comfortable – mostly – for tourists.

Having a bunch of adventures here….eating some great food…but when you get right down to it, it's the monkeys that always leave the most remarkable impression....you may remember my fascination and love for those monkeys...wherever they might be…so, of course, when we’re told about monkey island we have to check it out. 

It all starts with a too-long walk down to the boats.  Someone told us, "just go to the end of the street, make a right and you can’t miss the pangas."  So we do that….and we walk, and walk, and walk…..it's hotter than one can imagine….it must be only a bit further…we’re walking along the coast of Lake Nicaragua, people are bathing, washing their clothes...but no pangas.  We enter a giant park…we’re approached by young men trying to convince us to tour these isletas with them….but we’re looking for a pier, or something close to a pier.. and maybe even some other travelers for a sense of security...help us know we’re in the right place.  But we see neither.  Finally, tired of walking, we succumb to the charms of Lester who charms us over to a plan that will take us on a panga to check out the isletas (kind of like the Thousand Islands upstate, except these were all formed by this volcano exploding in some miraculous way). 

Well things are never as they seem and as it turns out, Lester (our supposed tour guide), doesn’t get in the boat w/ us but turns us over to this 16 year old to not only serve as the guide but to drive the boat as well.…..he’s all we’ve got…and I think of my 16 year old students and cringe at this guys responsibility.  But he turns out ok….very boat-capable, gentle, and full of information about the isletas.  And then we get to monkey island. 

Now it’s understood that we’re not to go aboard monkey island because as everybody knows, the monkeys chase you and bite.  But when we get there, there’s this cute monkey walking around in a different boat and we get near it and he hops on ours.  The thing about monkeys though is that they have no sense of personal space.  They walk directly at you and right when you think it's time for them to stop, they don’t.  So this monkey is all cute and entertaining and Corey puts her hand into her bag to share our bread and this makes him know there’s GOT  to be more food inside that bag.  Next thing you know, he goes from being cute-monkey to being devil-monkey in her face, digging in her bag, SCREEEEECHING, and WIDE-MOUTHEDLY baring his teeth inches away from her face.  

Until now, I'm snapping photos- amused by the interaction until it takes this turn.  I see the teeth and can feel them sinking into flesh….so I go to kick his butt just a bit, but I don’t want to anger him while he’s that close to her face with big sharp teeth showing.  And we both hear the “guide:” saying in Spanish….”he’s going to bite you, the monkeys going to bite you”….not very reassuring and doing NOTHING about this fact.  I tell Corey to give him the whole food bag…which she is too-reluctantly-for-the-monkey doing anyway.  And he sits there next to us on the boat eating our lunch…we think for a second about trying to get back the hard-boiled eggs – we were looking forward to them - but we’re not about to interrupt his feast…don’t want to see those teeth again...so he just dines....the victor...knows he's got us under hs thumb. 

Convinced, I guess, that he’s gotten all there is to get, he carries the bag back to the island...maybe to share w/his monkey friends.  We’re rushing w/ adrenaline.  I can still see those teeth truly inches from her face.  She did get a bit of a nip on the hand…didn’t break skin…no wild animal bite….but you can see the teeth marks.  Got to say, Corey deals with the whole situation well…no freak out….couldn’t afford that.  So we get away lucky I’d say….all intact, some good photos esp the one etched in my memory of monkey domination….sure hope he enjoys our hard-boiled eggs…
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