Monos at the Zoo

There is a zoo in Medellin and while I don’t think it’s on anyone’s must-see list, the zoo is always a must-see for Aiden. To me it looked like something from the 1950’s with lots of chain link fence and small enclosures. And there was almost nobody there. But Aiden loved it.


In Colombia you can always count on some amazing plants- random orchids and bird of paradise canopies!


But the best part was watching a visitor climb into one of the enclosures to rescue a turtle.  Now that you would not see in the US.

That same woman later asked me to take a picture of her and her family, or that’s what I thought anyway.  She actually wanted to have a picture taken with us. She tried to get Aiden’s attention to get him in the picture and said “hey, Mono!” Mono means monkey in Spanish. I thought it was funny that the lady called Aiden a monkey, but we were at the zoo… and Andrew always calls Aiden monkey.  Andrew later informed me that Colombians (or maybe just people from this part of Colombia?) call blondes monos. I have since heard mono at least a dozen times a day. As in, hey there’s a mono in my house!  There’s a mono in my cab!  Hey mono, why are you crying? Look at the grumpy mono on the scooter!

I am so curious as to how this word came to mean blonde (and why brown-haired Sam is called blonde, but that’s a different story). My Spanish-English dictionary defines mono as:

1. Monkey

2. Ape

3. Cartoon

4. Overalls

5. Unimportant person

6. Cute (adj.)

7. Red hair (adj.)

Here is Andrew and Aiden’s artistic depiction:

Here are my monos:

3 Comments on “Monos at the Zoo”

  1. Abby says:

    I love you and your mono family!


  2. Brent says:

    This is my new favorite blog. Takoma Park wants you all back!


  3. Ellen says:

    I’m really enjoying your tour of Colombia. And of course, I love the linguistic glimpses too, mono momma.


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