AJI AJI AJI!!
What’s that blur there in the background eh?
AJI AJI AJI!!
Which I’m pretty sure just translates from arabic to mean- ‘MONKEY MONKEY MONKEY’.
So I’m back to writing about Morocco, because finally we have finished (almost) the stuff involved with the Great Move To Berlin, and we actually have internet at home- after only 1 month and 17 days.
While we were in Fes, we made a semi-spontaneous decision to do the cliche tourist thing of seeing the ‘small desert’ in Morocco’s North-East (Erg Chebbi). We discussed the idea with our creepy hostel manager, and then decided to organise it through our new friend Guillermo’s hostel instead- mostly because talking with the guy there didn’t feel like interviewing with themafia. (Also, although I suspect we still paid more than was necessary- he also offered a cheaper price, and it was low enough that we were willing to pay it (which was pretty much the equilibrium that you always had to reach in Morocco- probably too much, but I low enough that I’ll pay anyway)).
One of the things that they offer as part of the desert tour- mostly I suspect, as a way of making the whole thing seem like a valuable ‘package’ instead of an overpriced trip to a camel ranch- is monkey sighting.
So on the way out of Fes, we stopped on the side of the road, got out of the car for 10 minutes, and looked at some monkeys.
And they looked at us.
We hung around for about 5 minutes without much incident besides for some people (who seemed to be really into a sport team of some type) wanting our photo. Then, a bus load of people turned up, and the ‘AJI’ screaming began.
Despite a rather pitiful sign reading that the monkeys were wild, and should not be fed, there were people selling fruit for the monkeys on the side of the road.
And these newcomers had fruit.
And the monkeys clearly knew it.
We discussed back and forth.
Obviously, the monkeys could come and go at will. If they were near the very loud, boisterous people, it was by choice- some of the monkeys just loped off into the the distance, and nobody tried to follow them.
These monkeys who stayed, they were the guys who were just perfectly happy to sell themselves for a bit of mandarin.
But I guess there’s this feeling whenever you see something that should be wild stuck on the edge of a world taken over by humans. I mean, what sort of ability does a monkey really have to choose?
Are the little Ajis dependent now on humans? (Is this a ‘responsive’- maybe their habitat is mostly gone, or is it just developing now?) Will they die without the food? Do they remember how to forage? What will they teach their young?