About

About

Welcome to Monkeytravel.org, the website dedicated to the far-flung adventures of the Monkey. You can learn much more about the Monkey in the FAQ below.

The short version is: The Monkey has been traveling the world since 1995 and he uses this website to share his photos, stories, and cultural insights. He hopes you enjoy his site, and he apologizes in advance if you learn something in the process.

Frequently Asked Questions


What is the history of the Monkey?

Monkey resting in hammockThe Monkey had a chance encounter with the person who would become his traveling companion and personal photographer on November 1, 1994. Around 10:15 that morning, the Monkey, inexplicably lying in the middle of Belden Street in Chicago, was nearly run down by an oncoming taxi. The Monkey’s future companion dashed in front of the cab, scooping the Monkey up at the last possible moment, and saving the Monkey’s life. Instantly, a deep and special bond was formed between the two.

The Monkey soon became bored with sitting in his new Chicago home, and agitated for more freedom of movement. He began by attending softball games at the local university. Soon, though, he wanted to see more. By 1995, the Monkey had traveled the length of historic Route 66 from Chicago to California, and had moved to London. More travels ensued, and the Monkey became a sort of goodwill ambassador, his omnipresent smile a symbol of the better world that is possible. By 2006 he had visited 32 countries and territories, and as of 2011 that figure has risen to more than 40. His stated goal is to visit every country on earth, though his means are limited. Still, the Monkey is making progress.
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Why does the Monkey have a website?

Monkey map madnessThe Monkey commissioned the development of his website in 2002. His stated aim for the website was twofold. Firstly, the Monkey wanted a forum for displaying the photographs and telling the stories of his travels around the globe. Secondly, the Monkey hoped that in some small way (after all, he is only 20 centimeters tall) his website would be an entertaining and educational resource, teaching visitors a bit about the world’s history, geography, and cultures.
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What is the Monkey’s real name?

The Monkey’s name varies in different languages. So, in English, he’s the Monkey, while in Spanish he’s El Monito (or El Mono), and in Bulgarian he’s Maimunka. He doesn’t have a human name like Ralph, Manuel, or Ivan.
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Are these pictures faked?

No, por favor! Part of the Monkey’s role as a goodwill ambassador requires him to operate with the utmost honesty. While some of the photos on the site may be adjusted for brightness, contrast, hues, and the like, NONE of the photos have been faked. OK, if you want to see a few real fake Monkey pictures, click here.
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Why hasn’t the Monkey visited my country yet?

Monkey by the telephoneRest assured the Monkey is working hard to get to your country. As you can imagine, global travel isn’t always easy for a small, unemployed primate. Despite the lofty responsibilities the Monkey has taken upon himself, he lives a life that could best be described as “jet-set poverty.” Keep checking back—the Monkey may be in your neighborhood sooner than you’d think. Of course, if you are willing to pay for the Monkey to visit your country, it might expedite his visit there…
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Who are these Schlepp bears and what are they doing popping up in the Monkey’s travels?

Monkey and SchleppThe Monkey always travels with his photographer, but sometimes he has additional companions. The Schlepp bears, of which there are many, are some of his closest comrades, and they share his vision of being the friendly face of globalization. Consider the Schlepps the Monkey’s—and your—neighbors in the global village. You can see the Schlepps’ travel pictures here.
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Are there any places the Monkey has been to that he doesn’t have photographs from?

Unfortunately, there are many places that fall into this category. Countries include Andorra, Belize, Hungary, and Paraguay. And of course there have been many places where the Monkey just forgot to or could not get a shot of himself. The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York (despite living in the city for several years) stands out as particularly regrettable. The good news is that the Monkey is young and has an insatiable appetite for travel. His work is far from over.
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What is the Monkey’s marital status? Is he involved with someone?

Monkey meets FrancescaThe Monkey is proudly single. Traveling as he does, he often meets new people in new places. He tries not to break too many hearts. Few who meet him fail to be swayed by his charisma, handsome looks, and charm. Truth be told, he is too committed to his international diplomatic efforts to be committed to a relationship. Sorry, ladies and gents.
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Why does the Monkey have so many photos with buildings?

The Monkey has a variety of reasons for having his photo taken by buildings. First, architecture is the art of places. That’s not to say that nature doesn’t have its own artistic merits, but in architecture we find durable, visible statements of human achievement. At its best, architecture combines the sciences and the cultural expressions of a society in a structure that long outlasts its designers and builders. Stylistic and technological variations in architecture can teach us much about the innovations within particular societies over time.

Of course, at their best, buildings become the landmarks through which we recognize places, like the Eiffel Tower or the Empire State Building, the Great Wall of China or the Pyramids of Giza. Sometimes, they are like time capsules that open up our history to us. That’s why the Monkey usually makes a bee-line for buildings. Of course there is more to life than buildings, but they are always high on his list of places to go when he is on the road.
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Does the Monkey work for the UN or some other international agency?

Monkey as president of the UN Security CouncilThe Monkey is at liberty to say that neither he nor his photographer work for the UN or any other international agency. The Monkey does, however, share the objectives of those international bodies that honestly seek to promote global cooperation, cultural understanding, and human and animal harmony.

Having said that, a few years ago the Monkey did have a brief “freelance” stint at the United Nations, which you can see photos of by clicking here.
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What are the sources for the Monkey’s fact boxes, captions, and intros?

The Monkey uses a number of sources for the Fact Boxes on each country or territory’s home page. The population and area figures are drawn from Nationmaster.com, which references the CIA World Fact Book, the Center for International Research, the Columbia Encyclopedia, the World Book Encyclopedia, the Encyclopaedia Britannica, the International Monetary Fund, and the U.S. State Department. In recent years, the Monkey has also drawn on Wikipedia as a resource.

Economic statistics are also drawn from Nationmaster.com, which compiles data from myriad resources. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) statistics are from the CIA World Fact Book, but offer a limited impression of economic realities as they do not consider income distribution and other social issues. The UN Development Program’s Human Development Index survey compares a broad array of socioeconomic factors in a consistent methodology and provides a more accurate assessment of human well-being than traditional GDP.

The sources for the captions and introductory essays are wide-ranging, and include travel guides, history and current events books, specialist websites, newspapers, magazines, and the Monkey’s personal experiences out on the road.
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What equipment does the Monkey’s photographer use?

Monkey with camerasThe Monkey has been on the road for more than ten years now, and over time his photographer has used several cameras to document the Monkey’s travels. These have included the following point & shoot cameras: Pentax IQZoom 120 (1994-2000), Pentax 105WR (2000-2003), and Pentax Espio 24EW (2003-present). Additionally, the Monkey’s photographer has used the following two SLR models: Pentax ZX-M (1998-2003) and MZ-M (2003-present). The 105WR and ZX-M were stolen when the Monkey was kidnapped in Colombia. The Monkey’s photographer has also occasionally used the Olympus LT Zoom 105. Since 2003, the photographic arsenal has included several digital cameras: the Palm Zire 71, the Olympus Stylus 400, the Panasonic DMC-FX01, and the Pentax K10D DSLR. There have been other cameras along the way, but these were never used routinely.
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Is this website a rip-off of the Amelie gnome?

Amelie gnomeA fair enough question. While the Monkey thoroughly enjoyed Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s 2001 sleeper hit Amelie, he was not inspired to photograph his travels by the gnome in the film. The Monkey has been traveling and being photographed since 1995, six years before Amelie’s theatrical release.

Having said that, the Monkey is entirely in favor of gnomes getting out of the garden and enjoying their liberty as much as possible. For this reason, he supports the various gnome liberation fronts currently active in Europe.
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Is that AT&T commercial a rip-off of this site?


Er, yes. But at least that monkey got to take a few trips.
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What do BCE and CE mean in relation to dates?

BCE and CE are abbreviations for Before Common Era and Common Era. BCE corresponds to what was formally called BC (Before Christ) and CE to AD (Anno Domini). Though the Gregorian Calendar, the conventional standard for counting years and centuries, is Christian in origin, most historians prefer to use BCE/CE over BC/AD in the interests of inclusiveness for the world’s non-Christian peoples, who are, after all, in the majority. Some say the BCE/CE system also makes it possible to account for the year Zero.

Thus, the 2nd Century CE (or 2nd Century for short) is the same as the 2nd Century AD, meaning the years from 100 to 199. Hard-core adherents of BC/AD shouldn’t be too put off by the system: a Christian-event-based calendar is the globally recognized convention (as opposed to the plethora of other religion-based calendars) and scholars have pointed out that it was, in fact, Christian theologians who developed the BCE/CE system in the first place. In the end, zealots can still read the abbreviations as “Before Christian Era” and “Christian Era” if they deem it necessary. The Monkey is cool with either method as all of these counting systems are pretty arbitrary anyway.
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Is the Monkey ISO-compliant?

He may be, but has not been certified as such. Probably not, but it depends on which ISO standards. Um, maybe.
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What political party does the Monkey belong to?

Monkey goes to WashingtonThe Monkey is currently unaware of any country, supranational bloc, administrative region, or local electoral system that has extended the franchise to non-human simians. As such, the Monkey has not joined a political party. His general views are animalist as well as humanist, preferencing pacifist sustainable development for all species. He disdains imperialism and nationalism, and believes that profit-seeking and naked self-interest are—at best—truly mediocre organizing principles for society.
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Does the Monkey allow advertising on his site?

Yes and no. The Monkey aims to perform a public service in his own inimitable way, and he has added a select few advertisements for charitable and public benefit causes to his website. These advertisements are not paid for by the organizations advertised, and the Monkey selects the causes himself; as a corollary, the presence of these ads should not be seen as an endorsement of the Monkey or his website by the advertised party.

Additionally, the Monkey is experimenting with Google’s AdSense to provide contextual ads on some pages. The Monkey uses any revenue generated by these paid ads to help offset the costs of running his website.
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