Sound of the forest

We wound our way along the path away from the Tukuls towards a lookout point where the smell of roasting coffee called. 

A coffee ceremony had been set up for the guests and we gathered around the beautiful aromas. 

The best beans were chosen and fire roasted on metal, for a coffee addict like myself, it was a beautiful process watching the beans evolve from green into a delicious rroasted brown.

Fragrant lilies decorated the ceremony floor.... We had seen these earlier hanging downwards from the trees like little inverted flutes. 

Our coffee hostess pointed to the trees, we'd been chatting amongst  ourselves, so excited to catch up with eachother. These guys had landed in the trees...

These two looked as though they too were having a pretty good catchup. 

They were watching down at us, looking at the coffee ceremony. "Ooooh oooh oooh monnnnkey" squealed Jose. The pair of had befriended a little monkey. 

She pointed it out "Papa moooonnnnkey look!"

The trees began to shiver around us with movement, I saw a whole lot of this...

..and this...

The monkey was joined by two brawling buddies.

They rolled and hopped, throwing punches like two lightweights.

Distracted by the altercation, I failed to notice the falling guavas from the trees. 

The other apes had positioned themselves in the trees, picking one piece of fruit, biting, then dropping it to the ground. 

You know the whole monkey see, monkey do?

Well we found the cutest monkey clambering a tree behind us...

We had watched them for an hour at  least, then their behaviour suddenly changed. The armed lodge guards neared the ceremony location. 

The monkeys put out a call to one another, screeching loudly with near primal fear...

Up above us the thick flap of wings draw our attention away from the apes. 

The vultures descended and landed just meters away. 

Now, I have to share this brilliant near Karl Pilkington moment with you.  You know I said earlier that there was the group of us there with the other guests? Well one of the other groups consisted of three guys from an educational charity, they joined us, sipping local whiskey from paper bags, smoking chine import cigarettes, and generally providing good banter. The mug below wandered down the hill to locate the monkeys, but when the vultures landed, cutting him off from group, nervousness obviously set in. The guard adised that the hyhenas were coming, oh the fear, it was hysterical. Not that I like watching brummies get mauled by hyhenas. 

The below moment captures the last time we saw him, before a pack of hyenas mauled his caucus. 

Okay jokes, but it was close though. He pegged it back up  the hill in a nervous heap. 

Moments after an idiot abroad, this one appeared, howling and agitated. 

He edged closer to the vultures who initially scared him back. 

They eventually gave in, taking flight into the sunset as more hyenas emerged from the forest.

The next round of cofffee was served as the sun drew further. 

Night drew in, a fire was lit, the howls and barks from the forest still remained. Every now and then a crunch of a twig would draw attention back into the darkness. The restaurant waiter advised that our table was ready inside. We gathered up two tired girls who ordered soup starter seconds and closed their eyes for a long blink...

...a very long blink...

So long in fact that Luce slumped beneath the clatter of plates and chatter of our conversations.