Lunch & A Show
Today I went into the bazaar with our friend Holly (who is sadly leaving in a fortnight as her student teaching is over). She and I stopped at Golden Restaurant for lunch so she could grab a bite to eat, and we had an interesting afternoon interlude.
A baby rhesus macaque was playing and fell down onto the ground, and couldn’t quite shimmy back up under its own power. Naturally this drew the attention of the rest of the troop, especially the alpha male — as well as a lot of the bipedal males (strangely, very few women). Eventually the baby got up, but it all attracted so much attention that the alpha male decided he needed to do some posturing to clear up who was the boss. From the safety of the restaurant, I snapped some photos.
At one point, folks in the hotel right under the monkeys’ hangout stuck their heads out to see what was going on: bad idea. The troop leader was not impressed, baring his teeth and bending down, almost leaping down the power/phone pole to hiss and spit at the men. They were still very clearly “on guard” over the risk of damage to the baby; no one was excepted from their scrutiny.
With rhesus – like with any monkey – baring the teeth (or smiling, even) is a sign of aggression. These are not warm snuggly monkeys, these are red-bummed snarling aggressive pains in the arse that in my wild fantasies are Hanuman’s descendants from the wrong side of the blankets (compared to the nice grey langurs). Rhesus are snarly, surly and aggressive – either they’re habituated to people and know they can make people flee in fear of being bitten by rabies, or they’re habituated to people and steal things from them with cheerful aplomb, without being overly aggressive (see: Laxman Jhula Bridge in Rishikesh).
There’s only so much “so cute” they are — the babies are pretty darned cute, but the hissing, spitting, snarling, and other shenanigans are enough to annoy someone.
For some added amusement: here’s an example of ongoing construction. The shop this is happening at is right next to one of the antique shops (where we got Adam’s mother’s elephant); they’re building something new there. I’m curious to see how quickly it goes up, but here’s a sample of the sort of manual labour and how it works. What OSHA regulations, safety gear, or even construction hardhats? I’m pretty sure the concept of steel-toed boots is also entirely out…