Monday, February 2, 2009

Of Cherries and Chinchillas

In my travels to Croatia, I learned several important lessons.

First, Croatia has the most amazing cherry trees you will ever see. The cousins I stayed with had cherry trees in their front yard that were laden with fruit. To the point the branches appeared to bow to visitors coming up the walkway. Snacking on cherries still glowing with the warmth of the sun is not anything a grocery store can duplicate.

Second, closed doors are closed for a reason. I stayed with my cousins for several days. Despite the fact that I couldn't speak Croatian and they couldn't speak English, we had hours of great conversations with a dictionary as our mediator. Which is why when the topic of chinchillas came up I was surely lost in translation. I mean, chinchillas?

Turns out, in the garage area, they kept chinchillas. Lots of them. As in row after row after row. I was shocked. Usually any kind of breeding facility is going to have a smell attached to it. I had been there for days and never suspected.

The father showed me around his source of income* and took one out of its cage for me to hold. I cuddled it as we walked around, eventually ending back up in the house.

Which leads me to my third lesson. Cherries and chinchillas don't mix. And here's why:

Chinchillas love fruit. Love it. When a person has been eating fresh cherries all afternoon, their hands are (apparently) going to smell like cherries. We stood in the living room talking blithely about god knows what subject when I started to scream.

I screamed a high-pitched scream that would make it into the Record Book of Girlie Screams. Interestingly, I started to scream before I felt anything. One minute I was talking, the next I was screaming and didn't know why

Until I looked down at my hand, and the chinchilla was gnawing on my finger.

I started jumping up and down, shaking my hand. The Chinchilla of Caerbannog** hung there by her teeth.

My host took the chinchilla and my fingers and managed to release its hold on me. Everyone had a good laugh at my expense. Once my finger stopped bleeding, I might have laughed a bit, too.

Today's lesson is not to visit family members with a chinchilla farm in their garage. If you do, soak you hands in lye before you touch any of the animals. While it may make for good blogging at a later date, getting chewed on by a chinchilla kind of sucks.

*Don't make me explain this. If you can't figure it out, think a bit harder.
**Same goes for this bit. If you don't get it, either look it up or be done with it.


Anonymous said...

I just laughed out loud at your pain, I am so sorry for that!

jayna said...

I was convinced the story was about to go along the lines of cherries and chinchillas more . . . together. Plated, more specifically.

Though you do now have me fantasizing about snacking on cherries off the tree . . .

RiverPoet said...

Oh my God! I'll never look at a chinchilla the same way again!!!

(and yes, I had to look up Caerbannog!)

Peace - D

Anonymous said...

I don't care how soft and furry they are, I don't want ANY critter chewing on my fingers. I would, however, love to visit Croatia.

Not Afraid to Use It said...

@Sherrie: Don't apologize! We laugh about it, too.

@Jayna: Maybe a little flambé?

@RiverPoet: LOL We'll never have one as a pet, I tell ya.

@hereinfranklin: I don't want anything chewing on my fingers.

Gypsy said...

Ow, ow, OW!

Although they are cute little buggers. Nice for coats. ;)

Chat Blanc said...

yikes! no longer will I think of chinchillas as "poor defenseless creatures." perhaps some are better off as coats. ;)

A Free Man said...

Nice Monty Python reference!

Unknown said...

Lol so funny love it