Monkey see, Monkey do, Monkey does the same as you
Monkey see, Then takes two, Monkey always wins, not you!
Monkeys here in Lopburi are unlike any other primates you’ve met, I guarantee it. They have a certain sense of entitlement, this way of life which requires the humans in their city to serve them and provide their every need. They reside primarily in “Old Town” – the ancient sector of the city which houses numerous ruins of temples, royal residences, and even a former palace – where they run free and frolick among the buildings and powerlines at will.
Let’s say you are a merchant in the fresh fruit market in Old Town. You are on your way to your evening post with a truck full of tomatoes and limes. You are stopped at a traffic light for nearly 15 seconds when the critters spy you on their road. They proceed to swarm your truck, eating whatever and however much they want, as well as throwing some of your produce at passers-by and other vehicles just for the fun of it. They just might even rip off a piece of trim from your passenger door, too, and carry it away like a sword. What do you do? You get out and yell at them while waving your arms to scare them away. Bad move! You must do nothing. The monkeys are considered sacred, and therefore protected and free to do as they please. You are allowed to do only… nothing.
You are walking back from the market after buying your meal for the night. Your plan is to take this food back to your home and feed both yourself and your family with it. Oh, and of course your food is carried in a plastic bag, as that is the most convenient way, right? Bad move! If there are any monkeys nearby, they will hear or see your plastic bag, and automatically assume there is food inside (even if there’s not!). And, what do monkeys do when they know food is around? They take it.
You are now a tourist walking about the ancient ruins looking not only at the history surrounding you, but also the monkeys running about. You are so excited about it, and think they are just so cute that you begin talking to one while bearing a wide-toothed grin. Bad move! Most monkeys will see teeth as a sign of aggression, so they just might retalliate against your kind words with some rather unkind actions.
Now, why do I tell you these things? Well, because we would love for many of you to come visit us here in Thailand someday, and who knows, we just may take you to visit this city of monkeys on your trek through the country.
So, let’s review…
1. Let the monkeys do whatever they want. You are not allowed to punish them.
2. Do not carry anything you actually want to keep in any sort of plastic bag, whether it’s food or not.
3. Do not smile at the monkeys. They are not cute.
Anybody ready for a visit?