Some mornings I think, "I guess this will just be a regular day at Harnas," but then I remember that there aren't any regular days--most days are extraordinary in some way with drama happening all around, especially when you consider that there are 400 animals all living their lives around you.
This morning around 6:00, my African dog Pickles nudged me gently to let her out to pee. I got out of bed and opened the sliding glass door about 6 inches--then went back to bed. A few minutes she came back in and I felt her jump on the bed and settle down with me and her tennis ball (that goes everywhere with her). We went back to sleep.
A little while later, I awoke to Pickles standing up on the bed, growling her most fierce growl. Then she HURLED herself off the bed, and I sat up just in time to see her chasing two flashes of silver at the foot of my bed, headed toward the open sliding glass door.
My first thought was mongooses (her mortal enemies), but these had tails. Then I thought "cats" but these were lankier. I launched myself out of the bed and ran to the open sliding door and saw six adult and one baby vervet monkeys who were hanging out on my porch, banister, and roof.
Pickles was furiously telling them in no uncertain terms that this was HER territory and they had to disappear immediately. I slid the door closed quickly. Vervets are relatively small, but they have razor teeth that they can use to slice open your neck like little vampires. They seemed friendly enough--I think they were from the enclosure only about 100 yards from my bungalow, and several of those I knew as babies before they were released. So I wasn't afraid of them so much as afraid of the skirmish that might break out between them and my frantic dog.
So I grabbed my camera, of course, and started shooting--keeping in mind that people might find this invasion interesting. One of the females had a tiny baby and I got some good shots of it. They stuck around for about 15 minutes and then moved on to the next venue for their mayhem--which I found out later was Willi and Cornelia's bungalow across the way (although they didn't go inside their house).
I went back to bed for awhile, wondering at the amazing place this is--where your morning alarm clock might be an invasion of monkeys in your house.