There’s a mouche in my bouche! (8/17/2011)

Prior to this trip, Carolyn told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about mosquitoes, much like I did in France. (In France, I had to choose between extreme heat and mosquitoes, considering there weren’t screens for the windows.) Well, Carolyn was right. I think I may have seen one mosquito since being here, but nonetheless, we have had problems with flies, gnats (British “midges”), spiders, and moths. Flies and gnats both bite here. I have itchy scars to prove it. To give you an idea of what Kim and I have experienced so far, I’ll recount a few short stories for you.

One night, during our first week here, we had the external window open in our bedroom to keep cool. (Keep in mind that there are no screens here either.) Kim had just turned off the light a few minutes prior, and I was already half asleep when I heard a rustling noise outside. Paranoid me thought someone was outside our window, so I ran to turn on the light. Much to my surprise, I didn’t find a person, but a six-inch brown spider, roughly the size of my hand.  Imagine a tarantula, but brown and less hairy. Kim and I were frozen and panicked, arguing back and forth as to who would go after it, then prancing around like frightened/grossed-out little girls, not exactly knowing what to do next. By body decided for me… I started to hyperventilate.

Apparently, we made enough noise to wake up Carolyn, who came running in, obviously groggy and frazzled. I was still hyperventilating. Within the next minute, a disheveled Mohamed came racing in, still trying to put on his blue silk, gold-trimmed, man-version of a Moroccan kaftan, known as a Sahara. In a flash, he left and came back in without me noticing, this time carrying a large beige bucket. He took a few swings at the eight-legged creature. By this point, the spider was crawling around with its nasty claws all over my bed. Eventually, Moh was able to scoop up the spider. Then, he squashed it and threw it outside. Moh to the rescue, I suppose.

I’m sorry if you didn’t see the humor that I saw in the incident. But if you know us, and if you knew Carolyn and Moh, you would probably find it a bit funnier. Perhaps I’ll try another insect story….

Once again, it was late in the evening, and Kim and I had just finished getting ready for bed. (The window was open, again.) I switched off the light and climbed into bed. When my head hit the pillow, I felt and heard a loud vibrating noise that sounded like a motor smacking into a plastic bag. I turned the light back on, and the vibrating stopped. We looked around and saw nothing. So, I switched the light back off.

Again, when my head hit the pillow, I heard and felt the same vibration. This time, I ran out of bed to turn the light on. I searched around my bed for anything, and that’s when I spotted a pair of wings sticking out of my pillowcase. Not sure how to handle this situation, I picked up my tennis shoe, covered in red dust, and slowly moved toward my pillow, trying to sneak up on the winged animal. Smack! I nicked the wing, but mostly just left a large dust spot on my wall. The Atlas moth (the size of the palm of my hand) fluttered to the wooden beams of our ceiling. Well, naturally, we had to kill the thing, otherwise it would’ve eaten us in our sleep. So, what did we do to try to get it down? We chucked paper balls at the beams, failing miserably. At times, it decided to swoosh to a different beam, one time knocking me to the floor in the process. It probably resembled a slapstick comedy show in which the comedian just falls to the floor in slow motion.

Half an hour later… we were still whipping paper balls at the ceiling, when Kim noticed her tripod in the corner. We used the tripod to knock it off the ceiling, and it landed in between Kim’s bed and the wall. Smacking it with the tripod really did the trick, and now there’s a dead Atlas moth that remains under Kim’s bed. Score.