Sunday, September 11, 2011

El Mono En El Amor

Ty giving a few oil changing tips to some curious onlookers
On the way out of Latacunga, we stopped for a "quick" oil change.  A few hours later, we pulled into Banos, a mountain town famous for its hot baths and outdoor adventure activities.  We checked into a nice hotel in the center of town and even though I was still pretty worn out from being sick I finally had my appetite back.  Luckily, Banos was full of delicious restaurants to choose from (certainly a change from the last several weeks) so we had a wonderful dinner and went to bed. 

The next morning, we planned on making a day trip to Puyo, a town located down out of the mountains into the Amazon Basin.  We had heard the drive from Banos to Puyo was very beautiful and, more importantly, Ty had heard from a friend that there was a monkey refuge near there.  We have both been wanting to get a chance to get a closer look at monkeys since the beginning of the trip, so it was very exciting.  What we didn't expect was that we would actually get to interact with them!  We pulled down the driveway where we were met by two volunteers and three or four monkeys that were playing with the two guys.  They led us down to where the rest of the monkeys were, which was a big, beautiful piece of jungle where they all hang out together.  They told us when we were walking in that it usually takes a while for the monkeys to warm up to people; however, that was definitely not the case with Ty.  Martina, a tiny wooly monkey immediately grabbed Ty's hand and pulled herself up onto his shoulders.  She laid her head on top of his, closed her eyes and stroked his hair with her little hands.  It was pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen and we both laughed about how Martina had fallen in love with Ty.  He tried to give me a turn with her, but there was no way she would leave her newfound love.

Ty's new best bud, Martina

Martina "protecting" her new baby :)
I quickly became buddies with Dora, another tiny wooly monkey who made my shoulders her spot for the remainder of the day. 
I made a buddy too!

Ty and I hanging out with our new friends
We walked around the refuge with Martina and Dora in tow and learned about the different kinds of monkeys that lived at the refuge.  Some of them were disabled, the most typical problem being ricketts (where the monkeys arms are deformed from improper care in a cage.)  The refuge rescued these animals and they would live out the rest of their lives there.  The healthy monkeys were put into groups; once the groups are strong and capable enough they are released back into the wild where they will continue to stay in their packs.  Along with the monkeys there were also several animals including cocker spaniels, anteaters and a river otter, among others.

One of the monkeys preening one of the dogs...he seemed to like it!
Even though it was VERY hard to leave, the refuge was closing down to visitors for the night and it was time for us to head back.  We said goodbye to everyone and made the beautiful ride back to Banos for the night.

Making our way out of the jungle and back into the mountains


  1. I, for one, am not at all surprised that the monkeys immediately bonded with Ty. His experience as a Blue-tailed Sinian wrangler gives him a rapport with all tailed primates.

  2. sounds like a place I should put on the ever growing list of spot to check out on the way down! glad to see you're having fun and look forward to more stories. sending good vibes from Antigua!

  3. missing you guys so much. sounds like you are having such a freaking amazing time! i loved talking to you the other day, jilly bean! call again as soon as possible!