Sunday, 18 October 2009

Last few days at Inti Wara Yassi, in retrospect

Oh, it was a sad affair leaving Inti Wara Yassi, if it wasn´t for a stupid return flight home I would have loved to have stayed for longer. Even now I miss my monkeys, so much... something I can´t actually believe given the terror I went through in those first few days. I managed not to cry before leaving, but it was hard work. Luckily the last two days were filled with monkey love which was super special. Here is a few things that were highlights or notbale events of the last few days at Inti Wara Yassi.

The las run in with Salim

My relationship with Salim has been a little bit sketchy over the last few weeks. He was a real gentleman to me on my first day, and on my second day he was the complete oppostie. For the rest of the time I have pretty much kept my distance from him. After about 9/days I had learnt to respect him and isntead of looking at him with fear I admired his beauty. Unlike some of the younger scarwny males, Salim was buff in monkey terms and had a beautiful glossy coat. I don´t know whether the monkeys knew it was my last day or not but Salim certainly did seem to know. At dinner time I was pouring food into one of the feeding platters and a monkey jumpe don my shoulder. I looked to see who it was but couldn´t make it out (it´s kind of hard to angle your neck at the right angle to be able to identify a monkey on your neck - not to mention double chins!) A few minutes later a monkey jumps off with a bean. Yep, it was Salim. I think it was his way of saying he was sorry to me and a way to bury the hatchett. I´m glad that he jumped on my shoulder before I left. I think it gave me some closure on the whole thing. Shame no one was standing around to take a photo!

Last night party time

I met some awesome people at Inti Wara Yassi and I actually miss them just as mcuh as the monkeys. There were around 50 people whilst I was volunteering there. But on our last night a few of us who had become quite close had a private dinner party cooked up by English Anna. It was a lovely evening with around 12 of us and we ate, drank and got merry. Very merry. Normally dinners out involve everyone from the parkl rocking up at hte same restaurant and so delays ensue and you can get stuck if you are unlcuky with someone you aren´t best mates with. It was nice for once to be in a smaller crowd with closest IWY friends, especially for the last night. After dinenr hilarity ensued when a Cholita Wrestling mask was brought out whihc we all had to be photographed wearing. Then came the animal photos where we all have to pose as animals. Gracie played away on the guitar and the vodka and singani continued to flow. One of the housemates in the hostel we were at asked us to keep the noise down, so we decided we would head to Vegas which had a communcal area away from the bedrooms. En route to vegas we stopped off at the cafe, which was closed, but the benches and chairs were still out. We played games of charades where we did impersonations of each other and did dares and all sorts of stupid drunken things. When we ran out of mixer rhiannon suggested we do singani toffee shots with the remaining toffee. Not one of your best ideas besties! Then Elle and I had a great idea of taking monkey blankets of hte washing lines and pretening to be ghosts to the otehrs. We were hilarious. Eventually after a two hour detour outside the cafe we all made our way to Vegas and continued the raucous fun there. But hte racucous fun didn´t last for long as tiredness kicked in and we all fell asleep. I was so happy htat I didn´t have to be up the next day for work, sooo happy! But the tohers all had to be up! Ha! It really was an awesome night and I htink it will go down as one of hte best nights on this trip. I think the reasons for this is that it was with peiople who I had been friends withfor 2 weeks rather than randoms that you maybe spend a couple of nights with when backpacking. Awesome, thanks to all of you guys for lots of fun and memories.


I was so glad I didn´t have to be up the mroning after our last night party. So glad, and when I eventually surfaced and headed down to the park I came across another reason why I was glad to be in bed. Anita is a gorgeous little capuchin who for the last few days has been trying to feed me beans while she eats. I always politely make chewing motions so that she thinks I am eating. She isn´t a popilar monkey as she has a fondness for picking peoples noses, but I lvoe her. When I worked my way up to monkey park I heard some tragic news, Anita had given birth in the night to a still born monkey. As the new monkey park people told me they found her in distess when they arrived in the morning with a dead baby in her hand I was traumatised. Just what you need for a jungle hangover. I was devestated. And then she hopped over. She still had the still born baby in her hand, The umbilical cord and placenta were dragging as she moved around. Her eyes were everywhere looking for help and explanataion. She was so sad. The vets had tried to catch her earlier in the morning but she was uncatcable. She was so sad.


There are birds at the park, blue and yellow macaws, red and blue macaws. Pedro the yellow and blue can speak. He said Ola to me. I love the birds, even the ones who pick out their own feathers.


We were so lucky to get to spend half an hour wiht Balu on our last afternoon. HE was gorgous. He ate soem Coca LEaves and played football with Edwin and Ben. I lvoed Balu.

Getting out of Villa Tunari

We spent the whole of our last day hanging aroudn the park with the monkeys, the birds and the bear. It was a nice day, and so nice to be chilled in the park rather than running around feeding and cleaning. After a last supper of pizza Rhiannon and I took station at the layby in Villa Tunari where the buses stopped. There was no bustop per se so cathcing a bus was a case of thumb out and hoping the bus had seats. At about midnight a bus passed and they told us they had seats in the front. Oh, no, we don´t want seats up the front with the driver, we want to sleep. It´s ok, it´s ok said the driver. We shrugged our shoulders and threw our packs under the bus... we were shown the best seat in the bus which would be our for the next twelve hours. Except, it wasn´t really a seat, it was a sleeping compartment... The sleeping compartment where the spare bus driver sleeps when not driving. It was certainly cosy for the two fo us as we lay in there top and tail. But we weren´t moaning too much as it was fully reclined and we managed to get kind of comfy. I wasn´t too impressed however wehn i woke up in the night to discover two capcuin monkeys curled by my head and rhiannon´s feet. But I was too tired to tell them to move so i just let them be. It certainly was an interesting means of transport to La Paz.

Things I have learnt

Inti Wara Yassi has been an amaxing experience for me. I can´t express quite how much I have lvoed my time here. Obvously I have overcome my fear of animals, and have learnt that I can build relationships with animals, but there are a few other things I will be taking away with me. I remember Scott saying to me when we were in the Jungle that if he ehars something buzzing in his ear, he doesn´t insitnctively batt it away, but will look to see what it is. I have sort of also grown itno this mentalitly as I have got more familiar with animals. I have spent a lot of time looking at the creepy crawlies and lizards around the jungle rather than jsut batting them away and screaming them off. I guess it was something I never really imagined would happen, but i became almost ´at one with the jungle´ (cliched!) I learnt to lvoe it for all the bugs and flies and saw a different sside to myself other than the squealy girl who normally shirks away from nature. I have also learnt to respect nature and wildlife. I lvoe watching animal documentaries but have only ever before watched them as telelvision shows, I have always been detached from them because they were just as real as everything else on tv. But having worked with wild animals now I have so much more respect for them and I see them differently. And so, I have decided that I am not going to buy any products or make up that have been tested on animals. In the two weeks at Inti Wara Yassi I have gotten to meet to some great personalities in the monkeys and the thought that htese animals are badly teated for the sake of animal testing makes me run cold. Rhiannon and I went into a restaurant in Copacabanad yesterday for some lunch and when we dicovered an ocelot skin hanging on the wall by the toilet we were both devestated that we had eaten somewhere that thought an ocelot skin was soemthing to be hung on a wall. So yeah, it´s something I never thought would happen but I have developed a moral! Don´t worry I won´t be turning veggie just yet!

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