In spring of 2006, I had the opportunity to go to China. I was there for my 44th birthday. I was also there on April 1st which was a Saturday. We had a free day that day and spent it in and around Hong Kong. We had several adventures that day including a trip to Monkey Mountain. I was travelling with a guy named Mike who asked me if I was interested in going to Monkey Mountain and I had never heard of it before. He told me that it was a park with walking trails and monkeys were free to roam on the trail. I was game. Here is an excerpt from the journal that I kept during the trip:
This looked like an innocent enough trail. We started up the wrong path for starters. Mike and I made lots of monkey jokes. We were high in the mountains and I got some good pictures. The path was surrounded on both side in most places with bamboo. We came to a clear area in the path and a monkey was sitting in the middle of the trail. Mike had told me not to make eye contact with them, especially the males. They see it as a sign of aggression I don't know if this was a male or female. As I was pulling my digital camera out of my pocket, I either made too much eye contact, he liked the camera or he sensed fear in me. Regardless of why, he started to come at me. I didn't get that close and he definitely got his bluff in on me. I turned and ran, screaming like a frightened little girl. I stopped and stood far enough back from him to stay comfortable. Mike had gone on past him on the path and I just didn't think I could get around him. Some of the other monkeys were playing in the path beyond my new monkey "friend". He left the path and I moved up and started taking good pictures of the monkeys. Every once in a while, he would show up and run me off. At one point, we decided that we needed to go back the way we came, but the big monkey was in the middle of the path and wouldn't let me through. About this time, a little Chinese woman came down the path and walked right by us and the monkey without any problems. She had a stick and I was wishing that I had one so I could defend myself.
We eventually made it to the other side of the big monkey to leave. As we were leaving, he was sitting in the middle of the path with a much smaller monkey. They were making little monkey sounds. Mike said, "Listen, he's teaching him your name!" As we listened, it did sound like the big monkey was teaching the little one to say "Art! Art!" As we walked away from the clearing, I walked right by a tree with a monkey sitting in it. The monkey was less than arm's distance from my head but he didn't do anything. When we were walking back down, all I could think of was one of the monkeys bursting through the bamboo on the side of the trail and grabbing my head and biting me on the neck. But that never happened.
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