Cambodia: Mary and other creatures

Nadja, Sunny and a half-dead gecko the cats got

I am perching in a half kneeling position on my bamboo bunk bed in my bamboo hut in the middle of the jungle. I am peering through a crack between two pieces of the bamboo screen that serves as my bedroom wall, stapled onto the netting – the only thing between me and the jungle creatures. There are monkeys outside and they do not know that I am watching them intently. There are ten of them and they are sitting in small poised lumps of mushroom and beige fur, cracking nuts. One of the monkeys has a baby clinging onto its belly. The monkey nearest to me is so near I can look into its eyes without it knowing. It feels like I am looking into an ancient secret and that I shouldn’t be there. I feel like David Attenborough. The monkey picks up a nut, rolls it nimbly between its palms, bites it, rolls it again then cracks it open. Quiet, alert, confident, it eats. Watching.

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