Thursday, August 6, 2009

Who Loves Monkeys?

It seems many of my usual commenters are on Summer vacay.

Either that, or my posts
have been waaay boring.

It might be a bit of both, and yet, I will continue with this latest topic - my recent trip to Israel, because ...

...well, frankly

because it's MY blog and that is what I feel like doing.

Monday in Israel was the first WHOLE day we had to ourselves. There was nowhere we had to be at a set time to bathe and dress and fake pose for pictures like we love it.

We got ourselves a taxi and started driving south to "Monkey Park". Because my husband is Israeli born himself, Hebrew is his first language and he is very comfortable chatting up the taxi drivers. This particular driver "Yaari" loved making conversation.

Yaari ended up being more like a tour guide,
then just a taxi driver. On the way down to the Modiin/Chashmonaim area, he pointed out a very long wall on either side of the highway. This is the not "The Great Wall Of Israel" No, I wrote about THAT wall in a previous post. This is a controversial security wall. It is a wall, that funny enough, many people in American Politics are not proponents of. Yet, some of these politicians are strapping on tool belts and layering bricks on a wall between Mexico and our own Country.

This wall is the difference between mass suicide bombings (which I think should be called "HOMICIDE bombings") and the recent calm that exists in cities in Israel. On either side of this highway are Arab villages that house leaders and members of organizations, whose sole purpose in life, is to wreak havoc and propose mayhem which ultimately takes innocent lives, just to get attention for a cause, that is not even a cause in the first place.

Also up, above this long winding wall - THE HUUUUUUUUUUGEST PRISON FOR TERRORISTS, anywhere in the world. As we drove past, I could only think how this would be a rather inconvenient time for a prison riot leading to inmate break out.

But on to MONKEYS...

Like this monkey, which is actually female, and for which an above the lip waxing would not be uncalled for.

We arrived there on a VERY HOT day and walked into a small air conditioned souvenir shop. I had assumed that you pay an entrance fee and then you just walk around at your own convenience and see monkeys in their natural habitat - sort of like ou
r trip to Parrot Jungle Island

But, that does not seem to be the case. We must follow a guide through the entire Park and it will take about 1 and 1/2 hours and .... it will be in Hebrew.

Now, I can speak and understand Hebrew ....... to a degree. If you are talking directly to me about typical things, I am fine, but start talking about Monkeys with swollen butts and the human like socializing skills of Monkeys , all in Hebrew and I am lost. So my lovely FLUENT Hebrew understanding Hun offered to translate what the guide was saying. This was a lovely offer on Hun's part, but I knew what that really meant.

Guide: "Blah blah blah blah blah, blah blah. Blah blah blah, blah blah blah, blah blah .... yada yada. Blah blah, blah blah, blee blee, blah, yada .... Nachon!"

Hun: That Monkey's big! Right!

Me: "He spoke for a friggin' hour right now (BTW - I never swear to my husband), what else did he say?"

Hun: "I dunno."

So thankfully, there was a lovely lady and her children with us, who happened to be from Miami. Which is not the part that helps, because in Miami they speak English (and Espanol, of course). But, she happened to also be Israeli born, and more forthcoming with the translation than my lovely Hun.

We first passed what looked like a small log cabin sitting on an island, with no monkey in site, and the guide started rattling on in Hebrew. I could not wait to find out why she was talking for 20 minutes about a monkeyless cabin.

Apparently, this monkey was hiding IN the cabin, because her Monkey - Dad just died and she was sad. We Jews call this "Monkey Shiva". (Shiva is a 7 day period of mourning in the home that Jewish children observe when a parent dies).

So far, no monkeys... and now we get to some area where there is a climbing wall (that is 5 feet high) and some other climbing areas, and I think,
"wow, we gonna see monkeys do ro
ck climbing?"

And the Israeli tour guide walks off.

But then a different guide shows up, and he can speak in English ... yay! It was quite broken, but it would do.

Apparently, this area was a pit stop for children, not monkeys and the rock wall and climbing areas was kid friendly. There was also an omega, otherwise known as a zip line, but we had to wait 15 minutes for the key, to unlock it. (Uhh, if this is an hour and a half tour, will we ever see monkeys?)

So the kids played here for a while ...

Okay, so Ate needed a little help on the zip line.

Only after, we finished our monkey free playtime, did the guide inform us that another family has just arrived at the entrance and we should wait until they wind through the beginnings of the monkey park so they can join our tour.

Uhh, NO!

Only in Israel do Parks and Recreation have absolutely no organization in place and NO, we will not add on another 20 minutes to our tour so that other family can take their time to catch up to us.

With that, we continued on ... albeit, slowly enough so that other family actually did catch up to us.

As we came to another empty cage and heard a story about how a very special monkey was shipped in from France and placed into that cage...

Uh, where?

And he was given a mirror to keep him company...

Uh, don't see a monkey lookin' in a mirror!

And he loved the mirror, because he wa
s very social...

If he is so social, why is he hiding? Don't see a monkey.

So they got a female monkey from France to keep him company...

Niiiice, where she at?

And one day, the monkey's were gone. Someone stole the monkeys. We don't know why. But we keep the cage here and tell the story.


And so we moved on ..... some picnic tables

where we stopped for nursing and sh#%%y diaper changing arts and crafts.


The kids were given paper and crayons and
were also offered the opportunity to either color a picture of a dragon head or a monkey head.

It was only after the bodyless animal/fictional creature was colored that the "art director" moved on to the next step of the project. They fanned a piece of paper and then were given a monkey tail or dragon tail to match their head of choice and they colored that. They cut out the heads and tails and placed one part at either end of the fanned paper and attached a sharp stick (think it was actually a wooden skewer) under the head. So the final project looked like a monkey/dragon with a fan for a body on a wooden stick.

When the kids were not looking, I dumped the art work in the nearest garbage because who needs more crap in their house I would certainly want no one to poke an eye out with a wooden skewer.


Only, the monkey was actually supposed to be caged, but was walking around free right near the picnic tables and then climbed a tree. At this point, I never laughed so hard as I did watching the "art director" walk up to the tree and call up,

(actually in English)
"Mon kee, Mon kee - com don Mon kee."

Right, maybe if you say, "PLEASE, come down Monkey..."

Even funnier,

the fact that the park was built with ten foot high monkey enclosure made of climbing friendly chain link, right next to a much higher tree on the outside of the enclosure.

Someone forgot to tell the Park's owner, that monkeys climb.

Maybe those two French monkey's weren't stolen after all. Maybe they got really snooty and said,

"Oui Oui - zes ez nut op to our standards Francois`e..."

And then they ran back to France.

Escaped Monkeys aside, we were then taken
into a monkey enclosure after we were given the following warnings directions.

1. Don't bring in food - monkeys like food and might attack you for it.

2. Don't make loud noises - monkeys get scared and might attack you for it

3. Don't make direct eye contact with the monkeys - monkeys will think that is a challenge and attack you for it.

"Question, can I bring my adorable little chimp - like, six week old baby in there?"

"BETACH (sure) Yes, of course."

4. Don't bring in small, monkey like objects - monkey may think it is another monkey and might attack you for it.

And with that, we we
nt in.

And then I took my loud noise making, small object out and took a picture of this dude sans eye contact, just before he leaped up and tried to gnaw a vein out of my neck.

We continued on past more monkeys and then we were informed we were going to a petting zoo. I was so excited, because I always wanted to pet a monkey. I mean, it IS a monkey park, so they must mean it is a monkey petting zoo, right?


It was a petting zoo of...

....gerbils and ...


Petting ZOO? I could pet those at my local pet store, but So was excited.

We walked through another area of monkeys.
These monkeys were apparently more aggressive, so, in addition to the chain link fence, there was also electric shock wire just behind the chain link fence.

Only in Israel, can people walk up directly t
o chain link fences (with children ) that has openings way big enough for hands, that can reach the electric wire just behind, and there is not one warning or mention. It's a good thing "Miami" lady noticed her son reaching through, because the guide sure as hell didn't. He did tell us that these monkeys can bite your fingers off. So, I guess they were protecting fingers from being chewed off, as opposed to being burned off from electrocution.

Ehhh, the lesser of two evils, I guess.

One of the reasons we chose this particular outing, besides for the fact that I looooooooooooove monkeys, was due to the fact that it had some sort of water play area and water slide, and it was an ex
tremely hot day. But apparently the water play area was at the end of the 2 hour, 40 minutes hour and a half walking tour. Which was actually an incentive. We got hotter and hotter as we walked the monkey park, so I was envisioning this "water play" area. I was imagining some cool jumping water spouts that the kids and I could run through, as well as some sort of slide that led into a nice pool. I could not get there sooner.

Strike that!

What I should have imagined, a filthy inflatable slide with an attached 2 foot deep kiddie pool at the bottom filled with BLACK water. And I should have imagined a woman who looks very much like me standing at the bottom as her kids slide down, frantically yelling,


(Hard to tell - but that water is as black as death)

Oh, but that's not all. For a short time only, if you are willing to wait another 20 extra minutes of your precious life for a bizarre bubble making contraption to finally begin working, you can experience the foam bath of your life. And for no extra money down, you can cry about how the toxic soap they use to make the bubbles is stinging your eyes. Yippee freakin do.

Waiting for this thing to...

...fill this thing...
waiting... waiting... waiting...

So they can experience this...


So is such a poser.

After playing in this toxic pool of G-d knows what pool of fun, we had to wash the crud off, so we could move on to our next adventure. That's right, our day was not done.

We did, however, say goodbye to Monkey trap Park. But not before eating some mass quantities of ices and magnum ice cream.

We then went, by taxi, to "Mini Israel".
In short, it was actually a really cool place that had amazing, to scale models of all the landmarks and cities of Israel. If only Monkey Park did not drain us of all we call "life", we would have had more patience (and time) to spend at Mini Israel.

I was amused when I saw an actual live lizard climbing the wall of "The Tomb of Our Pariarchas and Matriarchs" also known as "Mearas Hamachpelah".

Bcause of the model to lizard ratio, it almost seemed like "Godzilla" was attacking.

I especially liked the model of "The Kotel" (Wailing Wall). And if you go back a couple of posts, I left some pictures of the actual Kotel. So here is the Kotel in model form -

(Excuse the shadow).

Mini Israel was actually quite interesting. I would like to go back one day when I have more time (and more money and patience to travel with the whole family to Israel).

We were not far from the mall in Modiin, so we met some friends there for dinner. We dined at an outdoor cafe so our overtired, hyper surprisingly well behaved children were running around a courtyard. And this is when Ate's face met pavement. I had to mention this little tid bit becasue all pictures of him for the duration of the trip have captured a slightly more colorful, swollen face.

After dinner we hightailed it back to Jerusalem. Had to get the kiddies to sleep because tomorrow, we would be off to "Yam Hamelech" (The Dead Sea).

Oh, Monkeys, Gerbils, Ferrets and Lizards (my four kids), I'm pooped.

8 have shown Orah a little love:

Rayli said...

that's hilarious.... remind me never to go there. and btw, I LOVE monkeys too!

Anonymous said...

I love all of your posts. Look forward to them daily. Thanks for the history lesson.

Elisha said...

wow, sounds typical israeli!! said...

Hey, we love you! No worries!

Wow, that sounds like (not) so much fun at the monkey park...what were they thinkin with the soap? Those poor little stingin' eyes!

Tell me more...

Anonymous said...

Funny bit on the monkey shiva and the French monkeys hightailing out crappy Isreali monkey island.
Nice pic of that big a$$ monkey right before it made u into minced O.
This one had me laughing out loud. Nice work.
I can now say I am proud to be an official follower.
- Miss. S

Shosh said...

ha. classic israeli.

Candice said...

That's so cool. I'm a monkey fan ( I live with a few at home) so I really enjoyed those pictures.

Looks like a great family vacay!

Heidi @ Tayterjaq's Rebels said...

You really sound like you were having sooooo much fun!! I will have to put Monkey park on our list of places (not) to go if we ever visit there.