Sunday, April 4, 2010
A different kind of warzone...in my KITCHEN!
The first one must have snuck past me while I was in the next room because I did not notice him until he was chomping away on fruit on the kitchen counter. At what seemed almost my size (a slight exaggeration, the male Chacma baboon can weigh almost 40kg (almost 90lbs)), the large male baboon with the collar on it is a frightening sight to encounter in your kitchen unexpectedly. Despite my screams and hand gestures, he leisurely continued to eat over-ripe bananas I was saving for a banana bread, and loading up on fruit from the bowl. I managed to scream down to the car some 42 steps down, where Chris was grabbing some pottery we had purchased on our weekend getaway on the west coast. The baboon must have heard the male voice approach because he grabbed two armloads full of eggs, mangoes and more bananas and came right face to face with Chris on the landing. With my sister who is visiting close on his heels, they did an abrupt about-turn and dashed down the stairs, baboon in tow. While the beast had his feast on the neighbor's patio, I tried to compose myself and started closing doors.
For those who do not know, we have a lovely home in the Conservation Village of Scarborough on the south western most point of the African continent. Quaint in that there are only approximately 300 houses, it is home to artists, conservationists, and many like-minded folk. It is also, however, home to a few troops of the Chacma baboon who have figured out that raiding people's kitchens is a lot easier than finding its own natural food - hence, the war between primate and home owner ensues....
Unfortunately for me today, when Chris and sis finally left for the store, I was left behind to work on my dissertation - only to spot the same male, this time with seven family members in tow - head up the deck stairs once more. I thought SURELY with my sitting RIGHT HERE, yelling and gesturing, banging on the windows they wouldn't....well, they did. The male nonchalantly opens the door, lets the family in, and they start raiding the kitchen with little guys all over the counter, in the food bowl, while the large male expertly opens the refrigerator and stretches from the counter into the belly of the white food receptacle it knows all too well. All the while I am frantically screaming and trying not to stand in the way of the open door, trying to coax the little ones out. With no further recourse, and NO interest to confront one of the most dangerous animals out there head on, I had no choice but to fire up the garden hose at full blast (they apparently are known for disliking water) - and into the house I blast. The little ones left in a hurry, unfortunately pooping and peeing as they went along, but the big guy stayed put, simply moving out of the line of fire of the hose. I stood at a safe distance, shooting from around a door frame with one foot outside the door to the backyard - he would move, I would readjust, aim and keep firing, finally I blew him out of the kitchen, over the landing into the living room where he came crashing down onto my stereo system and then he went out the door onto the deck where he looked back and snarled at me.
Furious and terrified I looked out the window as they took aim at my neighbors deck staring at my house, hovering. I had left the hose on in the backyard and managed to blast a few little ones on the neighbors' roof before Scarborough Security could come and call the baboon monitors to move them up into the hillside.
It appears that I have swapped the turbaned evil for the hairy ones for the time being, either way - the foodie has a warzone in her kitchen that needs cleaning...more soon on our amazing trip up the west coast with a visit at the winery of the year and fabulous crayfish on the beach - for now, the smell of wet baboon mixed with wet Afghan kilim is driving me crazy...