How a baboon pooped on my head and other adventures
Our second port was Belize.
We took the tender boats into shore this time. The kids thought it was a blast to ride on the smaller boat, and it was quite the ride, too. I think it took us 15 or 20 minutes to get to shore.
And this child just slays me. It’s like she was meant to live her life in the lap of luxury, hanging out on yachts and sailboats in the Caribbean. I crack up whenever I look at this picture.
Once in Belize City, there wasn’t a whole ton to do, so we checked out all the little shops. It seems The Pharmacy Where You Have No Need of Prescriptions was quite popular, and now I’m kicking myself for not getting a cheap inhaler at least. But, I wasn’t sure if I should trust it. I’m still not, actually. Forget I said anything.
While others were shopping, we hung out around the shops. My middle daughter had fun playing hand jive games with her cousin. He was such a good sport to let her teach him all her girlie games.
I think my husband was pretty bored with the whole shopping thing.
Although, I have no idea why, because there were lizards to be caught…
…adorable nieces to photograph…
…and Christmas decorations to admire (I must admit, it was jarring to notice all the Christmas decor whilst in such a tropical environment—every time I had to remind myself that yes, Christmas really was just one week ago!).
There’s my oldest looking beautiful in Belize.
As fun as shopping can be, we only have so much money and so much need for souvenirs. Everybody pretty much decided it was time to get back on the boat, except my brother and his wife, my middle daughter, and me. We went on an excursion to see baboons at the Community Baboon Sanctuary.
First, we had to take a ride in a taxi cab that was probably 20 years old and had no seatbelts. It was about a 40-minute drive out to the preserve and my daughter had a good nap on the way.
The drive was worth it, though. The preserve was more like The Garden of Eden.
It is run by a group of Belizian Rastafarians who live right on the sanctuary. They bathe right in that river and they sleep in huts they built themselves. I was most amazed to learn that none of them even wear shoes—especially as they were showing us all of the various poisonous plants in the area.
We got some lessons in baboonology and a lovely tour of the jungle. Of course, you’re never sure if you’re going to be lucky enough to actually see the baboons, but we were hopeful. Apparently, there is one particular family of baboons that has become trusting of the humans. The family consisted of a male, his two female mates and their five offspring: all male, the youngest of which was only a few months old.
And we were very, very lucky. Of course, I was the luckiest of all, but we’ll get to that later.
We heard the monkeys before we saw them, and then, before we could blink, there was a monkey making his way down to us, and his tiny little baby brother following. Even the preserve owners were shocked about this, because the baby hadn’t ever come down that far before. He was so adorable to watch—just like a baby learning to crawl or walk, his swinging from branch to branch was uncoordinated and wobbly and oh so cute.
The baby didn’t come all the way down, but his big brother certainly did. He wanted a treat!
And so a treat he got. There were about 10 of us in the tour group, and we each got to have a turn feeding him a piece of banana. We put it in the palm of our hand, held it out to him (with the help of the Rastafarian guide) and he would grab our hands with his little monkey fingers and gobble it up. It was truly an amazing experience. My daughter was thrilled, even though you can’t really tell that she actually fed the baboon because I was so excited watching her that I forgot to take a picture until it was over. But you can tell she was excited about it.
My brother was the last person to get to feed him, and so he got to feed him about five times so he could finish off the banana. This is a good shot of how the monkey grabs your hand to take the food.
There’s not much in the world that can beat feeding a wild baboon, until it decides to poop on your head. I was just standing there, innocently taking pictures of the monkeys after they’d gone back up into the trees, when I felt quite the thud on my head. At first, I thought the guy next to me had hit me with his camera (yes, that’s how it felt!), but then the sanctuary guide started telling the monkey he had no manners, and I realized what had happened. My brother verified that my hair was indeed, um, soiled.
I choose to believe it means good luck for the rest of my life. And I apologize to my sister-in-law for having to sit next to me and my stinky hair in a cramped taxi cab for 45 minutes on the way back to shore. She should get good luck for the rest of her life, too.
And that’s about it for Belize! We barely made it back to shore in time to jump on the tender and be on the ship for all aboard. But the tight timetable was totally worth it, even though I was late to dinner due to an unplanned shower.
After all, not many people can say that a wild baboon pooped on their head in Belize.