My stay here in Morocco is coming up on near three months now and I have yet to write a blog post so I am going to try and make this one a two parter. Ill spare you from my first impressions of the country and the monkeys since I cant even recall them now.
The weather here in Azrou is finally changing to summer like conditions so to commemorate the event I decided to shave of all my hair save for mohawk. When I got the opinion of my Moroccan friends about the plan they said I might get funny looks from more “traditional” residents but they they were still up for the idea. A little nervous I decided to go for it and despite the warnings, most of the locals gave their approval to the look so I I thought things were going to be alright. Keyword being thought.
On my first day in the Green group since my new found hairstyle, I was the first one to find the group and found that they were a little more than apprehensive about my presence. At first I did not think much of it but the problem became so bad that it nearly got in the way of data collection as the monkeys would not allow me to come anywhere near them especially if they were carrying infants. The strangest part about all of this was that the group doesn’t even act this way with new researchers or guests that we bring along into the group.
After a day of aggressions, fear screams and alarm calls, all directed towards me, the monkeys finally became comfortable with me being around them again. Its funny to think that even though we slightly alter our appearance everyday that the macaques pay enough credence to our looks that even a haircut can throw them off so much.
In the Tourist group we have had a bit of a difficult time dealing with some losses in the group. Particularly with juveniles whom one day we see and then they are gone without a trace. We had recently just got done naming the last of the unnamed juveniles in the group and not soon after bequeathing the name Caramello to a spry three year old male we were unable to find him again.
A month had past and we had all but given up the search. We had not heard any bad news about him so I could hope that maybe he had found a new group to call home. Whatever had happened to him after a month long disappearance he returned to us and reintegrated himself with the other playful juveniles as if he had never left. With a big sigh of relief and a bit of paternal worry I yelled at him “Where have you been!?” half expecting a well thought out explanation. Wherever his escapades had taken him I was glad he was back playing along side his many peers in the tourist group.