The Monkey Bandits:
It was a somewhat cloudy summer afternoon in Bangkok, Thailand. I decided that it was a good day to explore a park with a lovely Thai lady, and her niece and nephew who were 12 and 3 respectively.
There was a sign nearby just inside the entrance to the park that said, “Beware Monkeys”, but there didn’t seem to be any around.
We walked around the park together taking in the sights and sounds of nature that was all around us until we came across some vendors selling food and drink from their push carts.
This presented a great opportunity for us to get a cool refreshing drink. The children were hungry and wanted a little something to eat as well.
After purchasing what everyone wanted the children went to sit at a nearby picnic table to enjoy their snack. Little did I know, we were secretly being watched.
While they went to sit down at the picnic table located in a sunny area, the lovely Thai lady and I found a bench shaded by some trees just 10 steps away. Just as the young boy was about to sit down he saw a cat, and went after it.
His sister went after him leaving the food and drink unattended, and then it happened…
They quickly struck without warning. Three criminal monkey bandits converged upon the table helping themselves to a free meal, and just as quickly as they arrived, they fled again.
The Thai lady I was with noticed this event as it was unfolding, and said something in Thai language that caused the niece to stop, and they both attempted to get the stolen meal back from the monkeys as if the monkey bandits would return it willingly, and apologize for taking it.
This American had no desire to chase down a monkey. I saw the movie Outbreak, starring Dustin Hoffman several times. The last thing I wanted was to have a monkey spit on me, and end up with an Ebola type virus.
Laying in a quarantined hospital bed as blood oozes out of every orifice in my head, and my insides are turned into mucus is not my idea of an enjoyable vacation.
I would say about 15 seconds into watching this event unfold, my brain said, “The little buckaroo is still fleeing, you better go after him.”
So off I went to get the three year old nephew, and bring him back.
Unfortunately Usain Bolt’s most feared opponent already had a sizable lead. I was going to have to increase my movement from a quick walk to a slow run to close the distance.
I am not a going to the gym and eating salad kind of guy. I prefer to sit down at an establishment, and have a beer or two to wash down a greasy pizza. Needless to say my heart quickly let me know that it was not happy about the sudden increase in cardiovascular activity.
Eventually I caught up with the little sprinter, mostly because the cat disappeared into a clump of bushes, and the curious child tried to find it.
I looked back at his sister and aunt, they saw that I went after him, and didn’t bother to follow.
I futilely said to the young Thai child whom I had just met an hour earlier, and in all likelihood never heard a word of English in his life. “That cat doesn’t want to play with you. Come on little buddy, let’s go back over there, and see your sister and aunt.”
I ended up picking him up to carry him back. He was not too happy about being picked up by a stranger, and carried away from the cat he was looking for. He started to fuss about it so I walked faster to get him back to his family that much sooner.
Imagine the looks that I got from Thai people in the park. I was a foreigner quickly walking through the park carrying a Thai child who wanted to be put back down.
After placing him on the ground near his sister he seemed to calm down. He was ready to eat the snacks that we purchased earlier, but the monkey bandits were already long gone with it.
I could hear a monkey screeching nearby, and as I looked up in the trees, I could see one looking down at me with a slight head bobbing motion as if he were laughing at me.
Score one win for the monkey bandit’s, and one loss for me. I learned two valuable lessons that day.
The first lesson is, when you see a sign in Thailand that says Beware Monkeys, take it seriously.
The second lesson is every so often it is good to eat a salad. You never know when your poor little heart will need to work a little harder due to an increase in cardiovascular activity.
Beware the monkey bandits in Bangkok, or risk losing your lunch.
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