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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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The Monkey, the Italian, and the Ocean.    

By Ken Silver About Asia
2234 Views | 0 Comments | 10/14/2011 10:08:01 PM

Somewhere… maybe India, maybe Cambodia, maybe Africa, there is a huge, ancient tree known to those in the know – such as myself - as Monkey Central. From the top branches of this tree an immortal organization of monkeys - Monkey See Monkey Do - has kept bemused watch on humanity since the first ape man stood on his feet. The monkeys see, and when the need arises, they do.

How do I know? Buy me a beer, sit down, and I’ll tell you.

I was in the Philippine town of Moalboal, on the coast of the island of Cebu. It’s part of the accessible and beautiful, well worth visiting Visayas Island group. Moalboal is actually in two sections… a strip of simple hotels, dive shops ,and cafes on the actual water, and a more utilitarian real town about three miles inland. Guide books tend to describe the coastal strip as party town, but really, it’s pretty quiet at night except for the gentle sound of good cheap beer being poured. You can get there from the bus station in Cebu City, or team up with others for a taxi.

By the way, there are no beaches on the coast strip, though great ones a short distance away.

I had been there for a few days. The room rates were pretty high for what was offered, and I’d been lucky to find Cora’s (sometimes Coral) Palm Court. This part of town is mostly for divers, and they spend money. Anyhow, I was wandering around looking for a snorkel boat to take me out. You can swim out to the “house reef”, but I wanted more. No luck. No room at the inn for Joseph and Mary, and no snorkel boat for Ken. (I draw no comparisons.)

Then (still no comparisons with the prophets of the Old Testament), that night a vision came to me. I was face down on the simple wood table of the local bar. It was a vision of a great, ancient tree. From the topmost branch ancient simian eyes gazed on me with compassion. Then a little furry hand, waving a peacock feather in a most curious motion.

Then the vision was gone, and I felt a small hand tug my hair.

“Pepe, leave the man alone. Can’t you see he is a self-pitying drunk?” (You have to add the Italian accent yourself).

I opened my eyes. A small, well dressed monkey was far too near to me. I could see his little masculine organ, and who needs that? Averting my eyes, I saw the silvery chain which lead to the well-manicured hand of another well-dressed male.

"Pleased to meet you both", I mumbled. Then I fell asleep.

The next morning I was considering giving up and moving on. It only goes to show how little known Moalboal was at the time on the general traveler’s circuit. Usually, snorkel tours are right up there with the opening of the first sea food restaurant.

There was a crowd of giggling, laughing little kids by a small grocery store. I wandered over.

There was the monkey, and there was the man. (There’s a protest song somewhere in that line). The fellow was feeding his monkey fruit while the kids looked on.

Looking up, he said to me… “Hey! I hear you...”

That’s it for Part One! Join us in the very next blog for the exciting conclusion! Meanwhile, be content to know that monkeys, if not angels, are watching over you!

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