Sri Lanka – Colombo – The Governor’s Gaffe and the park.

Poetry – Apes playing cellos

Apes playing cellos

Apes playing cellos,

Painting masterpieces,

Wondering about the stars.

Monkeys walking on two feet,

Asking questions,

Writing novels.

Chimpanzees who talk,

Laugh and cry,

And build bombs.

Gorillas who dance,

Love to kill

And control the world.

Primates who mastered science,

Enjoy sunsets

And dream of conquest.

Opher 19.4.2020

That’s all we are – overgrown apes!! Apes with inflated opinions of our own worth.

That small mutation that set us apart from the other chimps created a world of possibility. It enabled speech, writing, maths, science and art.

What a wonderful thing.

But it does not give us any greater worth than that of the other apes – our brothers and sisters.

We are all important.

Just because we are the meanest killers this planet has ever seen does not imbue us with greater worth.

We are intelligent apes.

Let us hope that we prove intelligent enough to solve the massive problems we are stupidly creating for ourselves.

The Barbary Apes of Gibraltar – photos

The Barbary apes aren’t apes at all – they are tailless monkeys, Barbary macaques, who originated in the Atlas mountains of Morocco and were probably brought to Gibraltar by the Muslims when they invaded Europe.

I do adore monkeys. I always wanted a pet one but it isn’t very ethical.

These particular monkeys are doing very well. They first prospered because of the myth that the rock would always be British while the apes were there – so the British fed and nurtured them. Now they are a major tourist attraction and get fed and pampered.

Technically they are wild – though because they get fed and looked after, they have no fear of people and are dependent on humans.

They seemed to be enjoying themselves posing for photos.

These Barbary Macaques are the only wild monkeys left in Europe (apart from my grandchildren).

The Amazon Trip – Manaus Day 2 – Photos

Day 17 (or thereabouts) – Manaus – the Amazonian Experience

Once more up at dawn – but no sunrise as it was too cloudy – the sun came out later to try to scorch us! Not a lot of insects on board this morning – a few large moths, grasshoppers and beetles. They all seem to die – I think they spray the boat with something!

Throughout our time in the Amazon vultures have been constantly circling overhead. I finally figured out that they are waiting for one of us to die! I hope they are not psychic!

Today we are going to have an Amazonian Experience. We were out early, heading off to a nature reserve to walk through jungle and paddle away on a canoe through small waterways.

We prepared ourselves with enough insect repellent to drive the whole mosquito population out of the vicinity of Manaus and enough sun cream to prevent a single beam of UV getting through. The resultant gooey mess was probably repugnant to piranhas, jaguars, anacondas and caiman – which is probably why we do not get to see many of them.

We sailed away and passed floating petrol stations, container ports and a lot of industry.

That was the bridge that goes to nowhere!

Then, we saw the phenomenon of the separate waters at the confluence of the Rio Negra and Amazon rivers – the clear black water of the Rio Negra flows alongside the brown silty waters of the Amazon river and they do not mix. There is a line of demarcation. Quite weird.

Then off into the nature reserve past stilted houses and floating houses, people fishing, or paddling canoes or zooming about in motorised canoes. There was even a stilted church!

The walk through the jungle was on a walkway that led to a lake with huge water lily pads and a single caiman lurking. There’s always something wanting to eat you!

There was a troupe of capuchin monkeys and a number of water birds – egrets, storks and red wading birds – and one fabulous looking raptor. We could hear parrots and other birds screeching and calling but could not see much.

We did see those fabulous huge trees with buttresses, lots of tangled exposed roots, lianas and strangler figs though.

The canoe ride wended through narrow water forests and ponds as well as bigger waterways.

Great to be back in the rainforest! It didn’t smell as much of rotten wood and sodden decaying leaves as I remembered.

It was very pleasant on the water with the breeze blowing on the face. Then our boat broke and we had to transfer boats midstream – risking dropping into the water to be eaten alive by piranhas, stung to death by stingrays, electrocuted by electric eels, gobbled up by caiman, or simply drowned – intrepid or what? (Mind you – all this deadly stuff lurking around did not seem to stop the local kids. All over the place they are jumping into the river and swimming about, oblivious to death!)

One interesting note. Throughout our whole time in Brazil we haven’t seen a single mosquito! So glad we didn’t take the antimalarial tablets! (Did I speak too soon?? I’m feeling rather hot!!)

Off to out next port of call – Parintins!