Yesterday found us waiting for a ferry across the Victoria Nile around a big safari-style van. John and his parents were resting on a bench on the other side of the tree, so I discerned it might be best to keep an eye on our offspring, who were giggling and hopping around the inside and outside of the huge, dusty old van with the pop-up top.
Nearby, Africans languished in the sun, waiting for the ferry, and baboons of all sizes were walking around, finding snacks around the "Keep Snacks Out of Sight from Baboons" sign. One baby and presumably its parents had tipped over the trash, picking through all the goodies. Hippos were cooling themselves past the reeds, covered up to their eyes in the shore waters.
It was "This is the closest I've ever been to a monkey!" that brought me over to the other side of the van. That's where I found the 50-60 lb. baboon, munching on g. nuts (they're a lot like spanish peanuts) that my children or someone else had dumped on the ground. The dude was big. I looked furtively behind me, where our driver was in conversation with some friends. Should I interrupt him, I wondered? Hate to be the rude, or paranoid, mzungu.
It was about at the end of that thought, I think, where the baboon jumped into what I now know was an open window of the front seat. C. shrieked, and the boys started yelling.
"Ssebo! SSEBO!" I was calling. I mean, what do you do when a baboon jumps in the car with your kids? This was conveniently omitted from the American Association of Pediatrics manual on childcare.
The men ran over to the van, where half of the baboon was hanging out the window, and shooed him out. He leaped away, probably cackling to himself at his good fortune.
Hindsight is 20/20. I now would have called the driver as soon as I saw the big guy. "These baboons have no fear," his friend explained. Huh. No kidding.