Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Planet of the Macacae Sylvani

Anyone who knows me even superficially (which is how I prefer it) will know what I hate 2 things:

1) monkeys, and
2) clowns

In fact, I would be hard pressed to admit which of the two I hate the more but because I was in Gibraltar last weekend and because Gib is plagued with Barbary apes rather than Ringling Brothers' clowns, today monkeys it is. I hate monkeys.

Given my general loathing of monkeys, the attentive reader might ask why Señor Gato Gringo and I decided to spend a glorious March afternoon cable car-ing it to the Upper Rock and then walking down through its nature park. Excellent question. I wish I had an equally excellent answer but I don't. Except that there are some excellent pubs at the base of the Upper Rock although, admittedly, none of these necessitated a cable car ride to the top and a walk back through the Planet of the Apes. I guess we figured that it was something we had to do - and once done, would never have to be addressed again.

And Gib's apes - Macaques to be exact and macacae sylvani to be even more exact - are indeed heinous creatures. They are thieving beasts that will grab for anything that suggests that there might be food inside. It is therefore unwise to carry unconcealed plastic bags or Kentucky Fried chicken whilst visiting the Upper Rock. When not snatching KFC snack packs and bundles of small infants, they like to pick vermin off each other and chow down on the fruits of their preening efforts. They also like to manipulate their genitals. Because they are accustomed to people (and their bags of food and bundles of small infants), they will often climb on top of gawking tourists, which apparently many gawking tourists find amusing.

Why, I have no idea.

Such close contact to humans is having a deleterious affect on the apes' social groups which are, in fact, beginning to disintegrate. The new alpha males in the ape community have less body hair and carry digital cameras (but still manipulate their genitals). People-friendly and potato chip-jonesing apes are also expanding their territory and are beginning to move down the Rock - some have been spotted ambling down Main Street in town. And if that isn't reason enough to leave them be, let me add that having an ape sitting on your head is just plain icky. Have you seen their asses?

Of course, the Upper Rock is peppered with signs which warn visitors not to feed the apes and that those who do face a £500 fine. I am happy to report that I required no such counseling; our bag of Marks & Spencer seed bread would not make its way into the digestive system of any monkey. Of course, the Upper Rock is peppered with tourists who disregard the signs which warn visitors not to feed the apes and that those who do face a £500 fine.

Like the foolish young man we watched who dug a plastic bag of food and water bottle out of his knapsack to feed an ape which was pretty much in his face with its grubby little clawed hand and opposable thumbs out demanding its lunch. I hope it takes a bite out of his face, I shouted said none too quietly to Señor G.G. The fact that he was 1 meter from one of those signs which warn visitors not to feed the apes and that those who do face a £500 fine didn't help much. Go for his nose! Chew on his ears! I shouted said none too quietly to Señor G.G. In 2004, doctors at St Bernard’s Hospital treated 168 people for ape-related injuries.

Huzzah! I say.

So should you ever find yourself on the Upper Rock, heed those signs. Hearken to the words of Gibraltar's tourist office: "If you let them, the monkeys will be their captivating selves and show you aspects of their everyday lives." Like picking vermin off each other and chowing down on the fruits of their preening efforts, and manipulating their genitals. If that's not fun for the whole family, I don't know what is.


Cath said...

"Get your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape."

Anonymous said...

If they are ambling down Main St., then it won't be long before they are ambling to La Linea.

La Gatita Gringa said...

Not funny Anonymous ... perhaps I should find me a slingshot!

Anonymous said...

"here we come........walking down the street...."

La Gatita Gringa said...

So not funny!