Monthly Archives: August 2014

Two Little Monkeys….

Two little monkeys jumping on a bed — you know the song — one falls off and breaks his head.  Well, instead of it being monkeys jumping on a bed, it’s two little monkeys riding on a motorcycle.  Although monkeys can be a common sight in India, this picture captured by Tyler driving home from work last week, was a first to see them riding on a motorcycle.

2 Monkeys on motorcycle

Although the novelty of seeing a monkey swinging from a tree, walking along the sidewalk, or crawling down from a building still has not worn off for me, my understanding of monkeys here has definitely made me more hesitant to get near them.  The large capital city of India has an abundance of monkeys and they are not afraid of people or making sure they obtain what they want from humans.

In the neighborhood where we live, it is only on occasion that we will see one, but in some other areas, not far from where we live, they are a definite problem.  Such a problem, that sometimes the human feels like they are “caged in” their home due to the presence of the monkeys found outside.  Enlisting a man that owns larger monkeys, called langur monkeys, to urinate on buildings, houses, and the land around it can help a bit.  The small, abundant rhesus macaque monkeys will not cross the territory of a larger monkey, like the langur, so if they smell the urine of that monkey, it discourages them from stepping on the grounds of that property.  According to a New York Times article in 2012, one langur handler has 65 of these monkeys urinating on prominent homes and buildings throughout Delhi.  After the smell of the urine wears off, usually a few weeks, he repeats the routine, charging about $200 a month for the service.  The American Embassy School keeps an eye on “monkey invasions” and do their part in keeping the monkeys off the school grounds by using such techniques, according to Hailey.

Why the problem in such an urban city?  Where there is food, they will come, and Indians don’t shy away from leaving some food for the monkey.  This may stem from their Hindu religion where one of the gods is in the form of a monkey, or it may just be that like the stray dogs everywhere and the wandering cows, Indians don’t mind feeding the monkeys as well.

The worry about feeding the monkey, though, is that the mouth just might bite the hand that feeds it.  Monkey bites are common enough that each of us got the rabies vaccinations upon our arrival here.  With each of our children going to the various weeklong school trips throughout India each year, the school recommended it.  The rabies vaccination consists of 3 different shots that have to be given in a certain order.  If we then get bitten by a monkey, it does not prevent us from getting more shots, but at least fewer of them.  How common is it?  Well, common enough that we met our first victim during our first month living here sitting in the doctor’s office.

A toddler aged girl, from Israel,  was waiting in the doctor’s office to get her last rabies shot from her monkey bite.  The girl’s mother said that her daughter just happened to be walking along the sidewalk and got in between a mother monkey and her baby monkey.  The toddler appeared to be a threat to that mother’s baby so she ended up getting a nice bite from the mother.  Fortunately, she has physically recovered from it, but the mother is not sure she will ever like seeing a monkey again.  The monkeys where Hailey took her school trip last year were not timid at all and jumped down into their open jeep at one point.

It is said that a monkey can smell the food in the wrapper and if it decides to take that backpack, purse or camera strap, it is best just to hand it over.  As for me, I prefer singing the “monkeys on the bed” song or witness them happily riding on the motorcycle of their owner instead of landing on my head.

Advertisements

Namaste Year Two

Six weeks after arriving in the United States for our summer vacation, I was able to drive to LAX to finally welcome my husband, Tyler, back to the United States.  As we drove away from the airport he pointed out that it is truly like a magic carpet ride.  You leave one very different world to arrive in a completely different world.  Well the Bryson family is grateful for the 20+ hour “carpet ride” that could join our two worlds together.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
The Grand Tetons above and Jackson Hole, below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Summer fun consisted of a trip to Yellowstone, Jackson Hole, visiting family in Utah, and spending an entire month back in San Clemente, California, with plenty of beach time.  Thank you to every person that spent time with us, let us eat their food, sleep in their beds, and made our summer one to remember.  We lost a “teddy bear” on the journey (Hailey’s since a baby — Yes, tears were shed), earned a driver’s license (Hooray Conner!!) and gained a new hobby (tennis for Thomas).  Karen took every opportunity to go into any shopping establishment — Target, Costco, grocery stores — you name it and I was happy to run a shopping errand for anyone.  The first time we entered a large store to shop, one of my children’s eyes got REALLY big and said, “Look at all this stuff.”.  And none of us got tired of the fresh air and beautiful weather.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Conner at T-street in San Clemente

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
Thomas took daily tennis lessons in July returning with a new hobby.

Hailey at beach
Hailey at Riviera Beach in San Clemente

As we prepared to board our plane in London to return to Delhi, our children noticed a family that was on our plane that had two daughters that looked very excited.  They said, they must be a new family moving to Delhi “because they just look way too excited.”. Well, sure enough they were and so Hailey got to meet her first new classmate while getting off the plane in Delhi.  Boy, did that moment take us back a year ago to what we felt when we walked off the plane.  After having several friends here in India tell me that their children’s lowest point of living in India was the beginning of their second year, I was interested to see how we would do — would we be happy to be saying “Namaste” to India, or would we be crying about the “goodbye” to America.  Well, I am happy to report, that the landing in New Delhi was much, much smoother for year two and we cheerfully said “Namaste” to India.

Knotts Funnel Cake
Along with our stuffed luggage of “American goods”, we returned with some much needed body weight from enjoying some good food in America — Funnel cakes at Knotts Berry Farm included.

After living out of suitcases and sleeping in many different places as we spent much needed time with family and friends, one of our children announced during the last week of vacation that they were “looking forward to going back to India.”. There is something about having your own bed call your name — regardless of its residence — after a little while.  We would not have changed a thing about our wonderful summer and every day went too quickly, but this time flying to Delhi we came with some experience, some knowledge, a better understanding of our place of residence and an established home.  As I continue to think about how it was last year at this time, versus today, wow am I grateful for every little bit of progress we have made.

So as the suntans from time at the beach fade, we are happy to welcome year 2 on this journey in a world that is a long, long magic carpet ride from home.