Never Stand Under a Tree Full of Monkeys!

    While vacationing in Costa Rica, my husband and I signed up for an ATV excursion.  Luis, our guide, had been leading us through beautiful beaches-white sand, turquoise-colored seawater, quaint little hotels in the background, all the makings of riding through a postcard.  Luis, who had been riding in front of us suddenly began to veer right and stopped at a tree.  I parked right behind his ATV obediently as he motioned to where I should stop, and my husband followed and parked right behind me.

            My guide said nothing at first and simply strode toward the tree, pointing up as he continued. At first I thought, “What’s there to see here?” Nevertheless, we followed curiously and looked in the same direction- up into the tree. On many branches of this large tree sat a family of howler monkeys- we stared up in wonderment at the scene, little black creatures leaping from one limb to another visiting with one relative then the next.  My husband immediately whipped out his Canon so-and-so, a fancy digital camera he bought especially for the trip. He snapped away, picture after picture, my very own Ansel Adams.

My eyes shifted to one particular relative…a baby howler monkey!  It seemed so small high in the tree, its furry little body cowering as it tried to get closer to its mama.  At this point, I kept hearing the faint warnings of my husband as he stated more than once, “Don’t walk under the tree.”  He had said it so calmly , as if it were something I should casually consider, but I should have paid attention to that preposition UNDER!  There was really a good reason I shouldn’t walk UNDER the tree. At the moment, heeding my husband’s directions were not first priority in my mind.  Priority one for me was to get closer to that little bundle of monkey joy.  I inched closer toward the spot right under the baby and mama.  Before I reached my destination, it hit me.  A large drop of water.  I looked around, wondering to myself “How could it possibly be raining?”  I am no meteorologist, but the conditions for rain were not there.   Surrounding me was nothing but warm sunshine; puffy, friendly clouds in the sky; a delicious breeze that blew around me, lifting the hair around my neck and causing the rickety Coca-Cola sign of a nearby convenience store to sway back and forth.

“Nooooo, that can’t be rain,” I thought.  The true reason for the drops that now trickled down the side of my face smacked me upside the head just then…I had been peed on by a howler monkey! Here I was- monkey urine moving down along my temple and my husband chuckling and declaring “I told you so,” as he snapped pictures to document my moment of gross (literally) humiliation.

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