So remember when I said that I don't like anything that breathes and isn't human? Well... I guess fate decided to put me to the test.
A few days after I returned from the wonderful scenery in Magaliesburg, I was asked to accompany a couple of my colleagues on a scouting expedition in the Hartebeespoort Dam area - which, incidentally, lies south of the Magaliesburg mountain range and is about an hour away from Johannesburg.
Now, I initially didn't want to go... I thought it would be a boring tedious day trying to find the perfect location... but after some gentle persuasion, I eventually figured that anything would be better than being stuck in the office all day. And so we were off into yonder...
We got there in what felt like no time at all and I instantly perked up.
After breakfast and wandering about from place to place, we found ourselves at the Monkey Sanctuary. I'm still not sure whose bright idea it was, but apparently they had great facilities for holding conferences and events, and my animal-loving colleagues were keen on checking it out.
The Monkey Sanctuary is a natural environment that focuses on rehabilitating captured and trained monkeys by reintroducing them to a more "natural" habitat. Basically, they want to decondition and de-tame these monkeys that were once held in captivity and allow them to be their natural selves while allowing humans to view them in their natural environment. These monkeys have been sanitized i.e. they are free from diseases etc.
I reluctantly acquiesced to a tour of the Sanctuary - actually I was bullied into it - and was told to leave all my possessions in a locker (including my phone, earrings, bag etc.) because there was a particular group of monkeys that liked to ransack the visitors, liberating them of their valuables.
It didn't take long for one of them, the leader, to climb onto my colleague, put his hand in one of her pockets, and remove her lipgloss - because monkeys want to be pretty too. And then, in good time, another one of the more affectionate primates decided to get up close and personal with another one of my colleagues and they cuddled for a bit - she was surprisingly calm.
He didn't even call afterwards...
Sufficiently freaked out, I kept my distance from any and all kinds of primates...but they weren't going to make it that easy for me. I ended up having to cross swaying bridges in an attempt not to be cuddled.
After our tour of the facilities at the Monkey Sanctuary, we made our way to the cable cars on the other side of the mountain, in an attempt to get to the top... which of course, is always more romantic in theory than in reality. As someone who's afraid of heights - and vertigo even more - one look at the cable car gave birth to butterflies in my tummy and produced the sudden urge to throw up. But lunch was being served at the restaurant at the top, so hunger quickly trumped fear.
With closed eyes, I braved the journey. And getting to the top proved to be more than just worth it. Suddenly, all was right with the world again.
I stood there for a good few minutes... contemplating life...thinking about how the other half live in their boats and yachts dotted on the water while the rest of us slave away in air-conditioned offices. Not even the thought of being a corporate drone could put a damper on this. And we eventually moved along the path around the mountain.
And then we spent a good few hours during and after lunch, enjoying the view.
And just like that, I was glad and grateful for the opportunity to be there. That's life - one never knows what lies ahead. It's always a surprise. Yeah it was a good week... and not even my car accident a few days later (on Saturday) would change that.