"" Writer's Wanderings: Road Trip--Cruise--Key Largo

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Road Trip--Cruise--Key Largo


And now for the really fun part of our excursion in the Dominican Republic, the monkeys. 

After we were through our sample drinks, our guide led us down a path to a caged area where the squirrel monkeys were eagerly awaiting our arrival. MonkeyLand is a lot like Monkey Jungle near Miami only you are let into the huge fenced in area (read cage) where the squirrel monkeys live and interact with them. 

It was explained that the squirrel monkeys are not native to the Dominican Republic but rather they came from South America. This was a sanctuary for them although it was never clear the reason they needed a sanctuary far from home. I drew the obvious conclusion. Wouldn't you?

The guide for the monkeys ushered us all to an area behind the gift shop where we received instructions. Nothing could be taken into the monkey area but cameras and phones. He cautioned that earrings were a favorite thing for the monkeys to pick at especially if they thought they were seeds. I tucked mine in my purse. 

I wanted to leave my phone in my purse that is a little bag with a cross over strap but it wasn't allowed so I had to stick my phone in one back pocket and my wallet with my credit cards in the other, hold onto my camera and hope that the monkeys weren't as clever as the capuchins we'd met in Costa Rica.

Lockers were provided for a fee for those who wanted to stow valuables but a bin was also provided where you could leave things as well. We put my purse there since anything valuable was in my back pockets.

The guide led us to a small caged area where we gathered and closed one door behind us before opening the door to the big cage where the monkeys were. It was just like at the zoo where you have a foyer-like entry before you enter an aviary so the birds won't fly out through an open door. All along the wall and the top rail of the fence inside, monkeys eagerly awaited the opening of the door and the treats they knew were in the plastic container the guide held.

Once he entered and we followed, the monkeys were all over him eager to be treated with some seeds. He led us to some benches where we each took a seat on either side of the walkway. Once seated, the guide began to gently shower each of us around the circle with a few seeds. Of course this sent the monkeys scrambling to get them and they started climbing all over the guests.

To my surprise, there was no squabbling among the monkeys for the seeds. They would perch for a time on a head or shoulder and wait to see if some seeds would come their way. At times however it was a toss up between what was more fun to watch, the monkeys or some of the reactions of the guests. One lady let out a scream every time a monkey jumped on her head or shoulder. I don't know what she expected since we were told ahead of time what would happen.

As time went on we snapped more and more pictures. There were quite a few mom monkeys with babies clutching their backs. I was amazed at how they stayed on with mom jumping all around. The only time I saw one off the mom's back was when he picked up a seed. He scrambled back on quickly.

A photographer took pictures of each person and then pictures of family groups and dashed off to download them for viewing later in the gift shop. Meanwhile we were frantically trying to shoot pictures and video and giggling so hard it was almost impossible. 

At one point, we were given small bowls of fruit for the monkeys who devoured it all in the blink of an eye, discarding only a couple of pieces not to their liking I guess.

All in all, we must have spent around forty-five minutes interacting with the cute critters. The shared experience with other cruise guests kind of bonded us for a bit. 

Our excursion ended, as many do, with a shopping opportunity not only in the MonkeyLand gift shop but on the way back to the ship. We were told it was a demonstration of how men carve art pieces from petrified wood. The demonstration wasn't very long but that could have been a time constraint. The gift shop had tons of carvings, jewelry and other items and we found a pair of earrings to match the necklace we'd bought on our shortened world cruise in January. 

Quite a nice way to end the old year except for watching the Buckeyes lose to Georgia just as the New Year rang in. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...