|Evening clouds as we beat for home from that first sighting of a silver grey primate.|
Tucked into the bottom of my Christmas stockings throughout my youth, and occasionally during married life, the other side of the chocolate money, is always a lovely round Satsuma. The slightly soft, dimpled skin when it is broken with a bite from front teeth issues a nostril filling citrus mist which cries ‘the festive season has finally arrived’.
In Lamjung Satsumas don’t hide in woolly socks but instead hang on trees and we are coming to the end of their availability. A few ladies can still be seen carrying baskets of the fruit which they display in carefully constructed pyramids on sack covered pavements and sell at 100nrs a kilo. We were lucky enough to be invited to the grand celebration of the ‘suntalaa’ season at a local producer’s orchard during which we scrumped pocketful’s of the tangy orbs, most of which did not make it home.
It was on that homeward journey from between the orchard, through a tall wooded area and the village of Kalipani that we were entertained by a troop of Grey Langur monkeys that occupied the highest branches. They were very shy and we were hurrying to return home before dark so the encounter was only brief. A month later we have climbed the hill again. Passing Lamjun Darbar we pay a quick visit and are invited in to look at the Hindu mandir that is housed within the simple brick building that stands on the site of an ancient Lamjung King’s summer palace.
|Lamjun Darbar, the ancient Lamjung King's palace with Manaslu (8190m) on the horizon|
|The Mandir contained within|
Leaving behind the Darbar we follow a path by a small holding, across some now dry paddys, to the wooded area. To our surprise the Grey Langurs are still in residence feeding on berries high in the canopy. We creep up the steep bank to improve our view but these primates are no less shy than at our last visit. Their black faces peer through the branches and we witness mothers with young slung around their bellies, nimbly dashing along branches and hurling themselves out into the space between trees. Their fall is broken as they clutch a drooping twig which miraculously bears their weight and propels them onto the next canopy.
|A fleeting glance of a Grey Langur monkey in the upper canopy|
|The tree top vines hide the Grey Langur whilst they feed|
|One food source|
|A less timid youngster|
|Maize stored outside is a big temptation|
|Another outside store|
|Another unforgettable cloud formation|
After twenty minutes of entertainment we return down the slope to find our way home. Proving that not all of the beautiful silver grey tree climbers are of a shy nature we encounter a large adult that has hurriedly crossed between the forest and close by dwellings to pillage the maize cob store. Unable to make it back to the safety of the trees without stopping for a nibble it makes a great photo opportunity albeit not quite true to nature.
|On the run! Cheeky Monkey|