While shooting in Cambodia I learned something new about myself: I want to cuddle every wild monkey I cross paths with. This was news to me, as I live in Hollywood and have yet to see any wild monkeys cruising down Sunset Blvd. Needless to say, the opportunity to interact with these wild animals had never been presented to me. I’m not sure why I thought they would be in the same category as harmless puppies, but after several encounters (onlookers would call them ‘scares’), I realized that for some reason they do not want to cuddle me back. I find this tragic.
My first encounter was at Angkor Wat. It was so beautiful to see these ancient temples with the monkeys climbing and swinging on them. I approached one for a picture (tourist moment), and he grabbed for my bag. Yes, I got that close. I grabbed it back and he swatted me, leaving nail marks in my leg. I was strangely excited about this. I’d had physical contact with a monkey!
I approached my next monkey “friend” as he was walking away from me, so of course I followed, keeping my distance as the rest of the camera crew yelled warnings at me from across the way. This little friend was sneaky. He kept walking and strutting, then with great speed whipped around and screamed at me. You can see my reaction pictured. My next friend stole my water bottle. It was then that I quit trying to be buddies. I get it- you don’t like me unless I’m holding a mango, and that’s not a true friend. Now I know what to do the next time I see a wild monkey- throw a peace sign in its directions and carry on.