Money Observer: Lessons from the monkey sanctuary

Last week I went on a holiday to Tel Aviv. Given how weak the pound is, my friend and I booked an EasyJet flight, rather than a flight with British Airways, which shows you movies, or El Al which serves surprisingly nice meals.

The fact that my chair doesn’t recline and the tea isn’t free doesn’t bother me if the flight is good value. Neither did the fact that we sat by a windowless window and next to a forever flushing toilet dampen my holiday euphoria.

Next, we exchanged some euros and other leftover currencies we had into shekels, before using our pounds. Then, we arranged a ‘private Airbnb’, asking a friend who is a local to find us someone who was on holiday at the same time and was happy to let us use their place. That was how we ended up with a flat in the trendy Levinsky spice market area, and lots of free hotel shampoos – our host travels a lot for work and is bald.

Instead of going on an excursion with a group of tourists, we organised our own. We bought bus tickets that took us to Ben Shemen forest, where we hiked to a monkey sanctuary. There, we were told that in contrast to a zoo, a sanctuary doesn’t profit from our entry fees, which are purely used to feed the monkeys.

We learnt that it takes three people to chop the fruit the monkeys eat several times a day. But why can’t they give them whole bananas?

The trouble, we were told, is that the stronger monkeys would grab all the bananas and nothing would be left for the smaller ones – that’s why they chop the fruit into small pieces. I left the sanctuary wondering what the equivalent of chopped bananas for our human world might be.

This column was published as part of Marina’s Imaginary Millions, Money Observer, June 2017

 

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