February 14, 2013

Alpha Male

A Thailand story.

So, we had been warned against visiting "Monkey Island," which was basically a big rock jutting out of the waves less than a mile from mainland.  The island was covered with low shrubs, clusters of cactus, and hoards of small, gray monkeys.  Here we are, headed out to said island in a nailed-together metal boat.

Other folks at our guest house there in Dolphin Bay had visited the island, and their reports were grim.  "The monkeys are everywhere, they'll jump on your heads, they'll pee down your backs, they'll bite!"  One child was taken to the military hospital in a nearby town for a rabies shot after being bitten.

Daniel: "Did you try to get the monkeys off of you?"
Victims of monkey attacks:  "No, they were so cute!"
Daniel:  "Hmmm..."

So we Rupps decided to go to Monkey Island, with the intentions of showing those monkeys who's boss.  No little gray varmints were going to keep us at bay (pun intended).  And really, when was the last time Daniel Rupp tapped out of a challenge?

So we loaded up the kiddos, and our camera in a Ziploc bag, and shoved off the beach.

Brave was less than keen on the idea.

Jubi was flatout terrified.

It took about 10 minutes to get to Monkey Island, and when we arrived, monkeys started jumping on our boat.  I have to admit, I was a wee bit nervous at this point.  (Do you see that monkey in the background pinning down one of his neighbors?)

I turned to Daniel and said, "You get out first."  He already had one leg on the beach when I said it.  And then, a monkey leaped right onto his arm!  What did Daniel do???  He grabbed that monkey and flung it to the ground, of course.

That was the last time any of the monkeys tried to get near Daniel, me, or the kids, and we were able to enjoy our visit with the monkeys without fear, just feeding them bananas and watching them play and nurse their young.

Then, the alpha male came out of the shadows.  We knew just by looking at him that he was the guy in charge, the big daddy-o, the king of Monkey Island.  He was twice the size of the rest, with a rich silver coat, and fangs the size of steak knives.  Where as the other monkeys approached Daniel skittishly, hanging back in the hopes that he would toss a banana their way, The King walked steadily, boldly toward my husband, on two feet!

I held my breath.

Daniel held his ground.

Apparently, The King had seen the way Daniel had tossed down one of his females, because when that alpha male met Daniel, he sort of bowed his shoulders and lowered his eyes, putting his right hand out, palm-up, in request of a banana.  Daniel, standing straight and tall, handed him one.

Dominance had been established.

The King stayed right by Daniel, eating banana after banana, baring his long, white fangs with each bite.  Daniel never refused him the fruit.  Then, when Daniel was out of bananas, he put his finger out and The King grasped it, ever-so-lightly, and Daniel snapped this photo.

You don't mess with the alpha male.