Tag Archives: Rock of Gibralter

6. Monkey Business

While in Spain for our 20th wedding anniversary, we drove our rental Passat to the end of the Iberian peninsula, and prepared to cross the border into the British-owned Rock of Gilbraltar.  Josh began compulsively shooting photos at the border.  A security guard tapped on our window.

“Sir, can you explain to me why you are photographing the border?”

“Uh, I like the flags?”  Josh answered.

“Give me your camera, I need to delete those photos for security reasons.”

He thought we were terrorists sussing out the place.  It was lucky that we we weren’t detained.

We proceeded up the mountain to St. Michael’s cave.  We walked inside to absolute splendor.  We eventually came to a cavern whose ceiling  was incredibly high.  There was an organ and seats for a concert with perfect acoustics.  The stalactites and stalagmites were enormous.  When we came out, I went into the gift shop to buy a magnet for my collection.  Outside, sitting on a tree stump, was a Barbary Macacque, posing for photographs.  I wanted to pet this ape, who was unique to the Rock of Gilbraltar.  The sign said:  “No touching.  Ape may bite.”

As we drove through the trees, Josh opened the window to get a better shot of the water below.  And that’s when it happened.  A giant macacque jumped in through the window and on to Josh’s lap.

“AAAH” said Josh.  “Get out get out get out!”

Josh had grown up in Spain, Malta, and Libya, and he missed the unique taste of the Spanish Mars Bar, which had a different taste than the American one.

There was the mars bar, in between us.  The ape grabbed it.  I had a natural instinct to protect the food, so I briefly fought the ape for it, stupidly.

The ape won and escaped through the window and sat on the top of the car.  We heard the rip of the wrapper, which fell beside the car.

“We need to get him off of our car!”  Josh said.  He pulled forward.  The ape banged his fist on top of the car.  Josh pulled forward again.  Again, the ape knocked on the top of the car.  He wanted to finish eating where no other ape could steal the pilfered bar.  Finished, he got off the car.

First, we were laughing hysterically.  Then Josh said, “That was pretty dangerous.  That ape could have bitten us.”

When we returned to the states, there was a story on Oprah about a woman who had a pet chimpanzee.  Not a wild ape,  but a pet chimpanzee.  And this chimpanzee had eaten the face off her best friend.

After our encounter with the ape, we drove to Seville.  We walked through the narrow streets until we came to the square.  We found a tapas place and happily ate the famous egg and potato omelette, happy to be eating, and not eaten.


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Filed under humor, memoir, travel