Friday, April 29, 2005

A monkey mystery

We had a day off work today, so we decided to visit Regent's Park and the zoo again. We saw all the usual suspects (the pottos were having their meal - aaaah) and enjoyed the new squirrel monkey exhibit, but the most remarkable moment came when we were looking at the golden-headed lion tamarin. As we passed the window of their indoor enclosure, they seemed to be watching me and we gradually realised that their attention was fixed on my cheap panama hat. I could see their little eyes move as I moved the hat around (I was holding, rather than wearing, it at this point) and when I hid it behind my back. At first they seemed merely curious about it, but when I brought it back into their line of sight the poor little creatures seemed to be shrinking away from it. Laura even observed at one point that two of them were unable to see it, but the third seemed to be warning them it was still there.
Obviously, I had to do the decent thing and take my hat out of the way rather than torment them. But it was strange to see them so transfixed by what is for us a simple object, and one that surely isn't an uncommon sight in a place frequented by tourists
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