Must fuel my monkey fixation.
So last week in Kyoto when I learned of monkeys nearby, there was no question we had to seek them out. We headed to Arashiyama, where atop a small mountain overlooking the city, monkeys roam and look curiously at tourists.
We walked 20 minutes up a mountain path to the Arashiyama Monkey Park, cautiously stepping over monkeys on the trail playing and sunning themselves until we reached the main observation area.
In an amazing turn of events, we humans stood in a cage, sheltered and confined to observe the monkeys while they were free on the outside gazing in at us. It was a strange reversal of perspective, as you can imagine.
Inside the cage we shared a snack of bananas, peanuts, and apples with them. This very clever fellow discovered that he could stockpile peanuts in his mouth.
From inside the cage, I kept trying to get a meaningful photograph that somehow represented our strange human and monkey connection under these bizarre circumstances.
I kept imagining something inspirational like the beautiful and famous Sistine Chapel painting of God and Man reaching for each other.
Instead I got lots of hairy monkey paw pictures like this...
and a few kind of scary ones like this...
But I finally did capture this ambiguous one. Is the monkey offering or taking the peanut?
The Arashiyama monkeys were more aggressive than previous ones we've encountered, which is why we had to stand inside the cage to feed them.
We were also warned not to make eye-contact with them. But I did accidentally find myself in a staring showdown with one. I have to tell you it reminded me of one of those awful Jerry Springer confrontations.
The monkey glared at me directly, expression hardened, chest puffed out, and moved towards me like, "What are you looking at?"
Strangely, I felt my own defiant swell of pride. I eventually did look away, but I have to admit that for a moment I did not want to back down...
Have you ever found yourself in an unlikely confrontation? Perhaps with a child, pizza delivery person, or another unusual participant? Do tell...