Ecuador Travel Adventures
Ecuador Tree Branch
Gail Howard's Adventures in the Ecuadorian Jungle
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When I whispered in his ear, Chichico would cock his head and listen intently. When he was on top of the dresser and I put my face near him, he would stand on his hind legs and prop himself up on his tail like a kangaroo and give my nose affectionate little love bites. Then he would chirp with glee, and with his little hands grab my hair as if it were a vine, and lift himself up on my head.

Chichico needed to get angry once in a while, just to get it out of his system, "Ki-Ki-Ki-Ki."

We had our little fights from time to time. Chichico would curl his tail in front of his nose, his eyes start to close, but he had to have the last word —even with his eyes closed. He forgave and made up easily. Often his hatred during our screamfests turned immediately to affection. He needed to be assured that our fight wasn't serious.

The day before we were to fly to Lima, Peru, I stayed up all night keeping Chichico awake so he would be drowsy and sleep on the flight. I played with him, ran around the room, tickled his belly, anything I could do to keep him from falling asleep. Had I not done this, he would have chirped and scampered all over the plane. I was smuggling an illegal alien across the border.

On the flight, I wore a wool suit with a loose fitting jacket. I tied Chichico in a little flannel rebozo under my breast. All went well until the plane landed in Lima. As we were going through customs, the little lump under my breast started to move. He let out a "chirp." I imitated the sound, then cleared my throat, as if both chirps had come from me.

The customs official looked at me oddly, but passed us through. No sooner were we out the door of the airport, when Chichico popped out of my jacket and sprang into action, chattering away. He was well-rested and ready for some lunch to munch. We found lodging at a pension on 3420 Arequipa in Miraflores, a suburb of Lima. When we moved in, our landlady, the Senora said, "You are the monkey's mother. Who is the father?"

"No se. (I don't know)"

"No se? Que Modern! (You don't know? How modern!)

It was ideal lodging for Chichico. He played in the vine-covered tree outside my open window, leaping like a circus performer, chattering happily.

When we went to the Hotel Crillon for a Turkish bath, naturally I brought the hunk of monk with us. I tied him in the dressing room while we were in the steam room. He was crying so much, the attendants took him out to be with them and stuffed him with fruit. When we came out, his tummy was bulging, but he continued to eat—just to show off. We gave Chichico a bath too. I dried him in a warm room with plenty of thick towels.

At bedtime, Chichico had to run to get rid of excess energy so that he would sleep and let us sleep. Sometimes I was too lazy to play 'chase' with him, so I'd get the landlady's cat (named Cat), to help me out. As I stood in the doorway holding the cat in my arms, Chichico was at my feet, excited about Cat's visit. I could almost read his mind saying, "Put her down. Put her down. Let me at her."

Cat was eating cheese. Chichico grabbed a tiny piece of cheese and ate it in front of Cat— a fast nervous little munch-munch, his eyes alert.

Cat finished her cheese and jumped on my lap. While I held Cat, Chichico was brave. He hopped up and pinched Cat's fur. Cat was insulted, and let out a yelp. Chichico hopped on my knees, then on my shoulder, taunting Cat. Cat was humiliated and didn't want to be petted after that. She kept a sharp eye on him, her claws out, tail moving briskly.

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© Copyright 2006-. Gail Howard.
All rights to this work belong to the author. You are welcome to use any part of it provided you mention its source and notify us where you are using it.

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