Sunday, May 15, 2005

mosquitos in mexico

I certainly have had a lot of experience with mosquitos in my life -- I spent several of my summers months in Cuernavaca and Guatemala, after all. But I have to say that the mosquitos here in Huajuapan are unlike any that I have ever encountered.

It's not their numbers that are the problem; in fact, it's usually only one or two of them that show up to make my life miserable every night. It's more their approach that makes them insufferable.

For one, unlike other mosquitos that I've encountered, the Mexico variety seems to only show up under the cover of night. And then, they only come out when the lights are off and I can't see them. I'll sit around all evening long without a problem, but as soon as I turn off the lights to go to bed or watch a movie, I've got one buzzing in my ear. But as soon as I switch on a light so I can locate and crush the little bastard, he's vanished again.

The other unusual thing for me about Mexico mosquitos is that they have a very lethal bite. I've never had much of an allergic reaction to mosquito bites -- mostly I just object to the initial sting. But here, I don't even notice when the mosquitos are biting me, I just start to feel an incredible itch a few moments afterward. I also get a large, swollen bump, which I never really got from mosquito bites before. Sometimes the itching is so bad that it wakes me up and keeps me from falling back asleep.

So I've had to adopt a couple of anti-mosquito measures, which seem to work to some degree. One thing I've done is buy a Raid plug-in device, where you insert a small pad that heats up and produces a smell that it supposed to keep mosquitos away. Of course, who knows what the chemicals are that produce the smell and what what they're doing to my health. So now I'm trying a more chemical-free approach: I've positioned an electric fan a few inches from my bed and have the thing going at full blast all night. It can be a little distracting to try to sleep in the midst of hurricane-force winds, but it seems to keep the bugs away, and it eliminates the need to breathe in Raid toxins all night.

Maybe it's time to look into a mosquito net.

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