Friday, June 13, 2014

Day 16: Hiking Volcanoes to See the Monkeys

Today has been a lighter day for me. I ate something that didn’t agree with me, so I only got to participate in the first event of the day, which was tracking the Golden Monkeys at Volcanoes national park. I’ve spent the rest of the day napping and hoping to feel better soon. So we got up this morning pretty early and had some breakfast made by the cook at our guest house. It was good and there was imitation nutella, which made us all happy. Then we drove out, picked up our guide, and drove to the trail head. We walked quite a ways just to get through fields that were filled with dark mud, until finally we were at the entrance to the bamboo forest zone. From there it was about another 20 minutes of hiking mainly uphill in thick, dark mud until we reached the spot where we left our bags to then walk about 10 meters to where the monkeys were. The monkeys are completely habituated, and we were able to stand as little as 1-5 feet from the little guys while they ate, played, and bickered. We got to spend about an hour with the little guys as they bounced from one chunk of bamboo to the next, stopping to eat the freshly grown chutes. It was really cool to be so close to them, and to see them interacting with each other. After an hour we made our way back to the cars, which was much easier as it was all down hill. On our way back to the hotel we stopped along the side of the road because the local people were participating in their day of remembrance for the genocide. Every year each area has a specific day where they walk to their local memorial and spend about 2 hours remembering those that were lost. We witnessed hundreds of children walking by to pay their respects. It was an incredibly somber moment, where I noticed the oddness of being a tourist and a the same time the local people are attempting to remember the atrocities of the past. These polar opposites of the spectrum can be a bit intense sometimes, but I’m glad I got to witness it. The rest of the group went on to see some more basket weaving, banana beer making, and for another boat ride, but I stayed back hoping I’ll feel better for tomorrow’s activities. Here is hoping! I only put 3 pictures up here because I’m using my cellphone for internet and it can get a bit expensive to upload a bunch of pictures.

One of the volcanoes looming in the distance, shrouded in fog and clouds

Bee keeper's nests. Made from wood there were tons of them during our walk.

A curious monkey tips his head out to see what we are up to

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