Rise of the Planet of the Blue Monkeys

“Excuse me?”

I peeked up out of one eye to see her exaggerated gesture. She had a smile of complete apology on her face, and I gave her a quick nod and held up one finger politely before bowing my head to finish the prayer.

We held our packed lunches on our laps as we prayed, thanking God for a blessed week and seeking travelling mercies as we prepared to head back home. We finished the prayer and I opened the top of my lunch.

“Excuse me?” she said again and the entire group looked her way. This time her gestures were a little more wild and…insistent. She really wanted our attention.

“You should watch out for…monkeys.”

She pointed and we all turned and that’s when I saw him swinging toward us in the tree. Shaun sat on the end, next to the tree, Keely next to him and I was next to her. My first thought as he swung near was, “Oh how fun. A monkey. Yay!”

Then he screeched BONZAAAAAIIIIIII (a Tanzanian monkey issuing a Japanese battle cry? It could totally happen…) and leapt from the tree, landing on the ledge just next to Shaun and my second thought was, “OMG – HE’S GOING TO EAT MY FACE OFF! RUN!”

In my imagination, he looked just like this as he came swinging toward our table:

Image Still from Rise of the Planet of the Apes

And yeah…our monkey had his cronies in the background, too…

I’m not entirely sure how I made it out of that covered pavilion so fast. It’s all kind of a blur. There’s a chance I may have pushed someone out of my way as I fled. I also made sure I left my wide open lunch box behind for the attackers. It was my method of self-preservation.

So it was that in less time than it takes to say “Woman loses face in rare Blue Monkey attack” I was outside, jumping and shaking and laughing that trembly, “Haha, wasn’t that funny how we almost died” sort of laugh that you do when you’re trying to act cool, but you know you really look like an idiot.

Then everyone wanted to know how I got away so quick. The answer?

I flew, people. I sprouted wings and flew.

In the end, the monkeys made off with quite a spread. Banana chips, apples, chicken legs and some bread. In fact, they actually took several things directly out of people’s hands. They were brazen, these monkeys. Brazen.

They didn't even try to hide their thievery...

Sure he LOOKS cute and fluffly. But don't be fooled...

Who me?

There are a couple of lessons we can all learn from the Great Monkey Caper of 2012 and those lessons are as follows:

– First, when someone is desperately trying to get your attention, it may be to your benefit to stop praying and listen. Especially when you are in the middle of Africa with a wide open lunch box. You’d think that would be common sense, but…well, it’s not. Learn from us.

– Second, if you’re sitting next to me during a monkey attack, know that my first reaction is clearly Flight, NOT Fight, because while I would LIKE to be able to say “I got your back” if ever we’re under monkey attack, the truth is if Blue Monkeys are swinging our way shouting Japanese warrior cries I know with certainty that all I need to do is run faster than you.


And we all say…Amen.


  1. Oh my goodness. I think I just snorted at this! Hee hee! What an adventure!! Thank you for sharing this delightfully funny real-life, near death monkey experience 😉 so glad they really only wanted your lunch! Praying for you!

    • Yes. Turns out monkeys really do prefer bananas to human flesh. That is a comforting thought…

  2. This is HILARIOUS. I can’t even picture it without hearing that line from Toy Story 2, “How shall she die???? Sharks? Or…..death by MONKEYS!!!” If it helps, I too would have fled with zero concern for my fellow man. I might have even thrown my lunch their way just to add to the monkeys’ temptation to attack others instead of me. But I would NOT, under any circumstances, have surrendered Catnip the Camera.

    • Hahaha! It was totally death by monkeys. Except, ya know, no one died. It appears that a monkey attack is the best way to see what truly matters in life and to weigh priorities… 🙂

  3. Stinkin’ FABULOUS. I ran over our real-estate agent to get away from that rattlesnake and clawed my way past Matt when we were snorkeling in the Florida keys. It wasn’t a shark after all.

    • But had it been, you would have been safe. Lee left me in a cloud of bubbles once when we were snorkeling and a barracuda came swimming up underneath me. I almost choked to death as he flipped away in a panic.

      I would definitely leave him behind in a monkey attack.


  4. Love this story! I could completely picture the scenerio in my head and saw/heard your nervous laughter. 🙂

    • Btw, I have a HUGE love for monkeys and always thought it would be awesome to be around them, however, if they were swinging after me unannounced I am sure I would be high tailing it out of there right behind you friend!

  5. Candy Martin says

    Sitting in the hotel lobby laughing out loud at this! And I had already seen the pics and heard the story. You are so funny. You have always been able to make a quick exit in situations like this. And if there is a wasp, yellow jacket, hornet, or bee, you will take anyone out that is close to you!! I guess you don’t want to go with me and the kids to The Primate Sanctuary!!

    • If they’re behind glass, I’m good. If not…well, I’ll let you have a special day alone with the kids. 🙂

  6. Way to be a survivor! My kids are SO jealous of you! If Aiden had been there he would have been trying to lure one into a pack in order to smuggle it home…

    • It was seriously the freakiest thing I’ve ever had happen. Like, worse than a cricket crawling up my pants. Barely worse than that… 😉

  7. JoAnna says

    So funny and the pics complete the story. Yes, the Blue Monkeys look just as threatening as the Planet Apes:) Kelli you should ask Dean how quickly I react when it is just a bug!
    He has some scars on his arms as I catapult. A monkey well… I can only imagine.

    • I can’t even confirm whether or not I would have saved my children had the been nearby. I simply don’t know.

  8. Oh my goodness, I’m laughing hysterically and nervous as all get out at the same time!! Monkies are cute from a distance but totally freaky up close and personal!! I’m glad they were satisfied with a chicken leg and not your face! Everytime I think of monkies I think of that lady on Oprah whos pet monkey ate her face off (sorry!!). I probably would have wet my pants if I was in your shoes.


  1. […] Rise of the Planet of the Blue Monkeys – An open lunch box in the Tanzanian wild is a bad idea. Bad, bad, BAD idea… […]