It was almost exactly a year ago I decided I was moving to Mexico. The very first person I told, a lovely woman, a friend, screeched, “Oh my god! You’re going to be raped and murdered!”
And yet, here I am almost a year later, a year in which no crimes have been committed against me by any person.
To stay safe in Mexico, stay away from drug cartels, and stay away from dark alleys late at night while drunk.
And stay away from jungles, where jaguars, cougars, and bobcats lurk with claws and jaws that could tear you to pieces — ditto for rivers, bays, and the ocean where crocodiles, stingrays, and alligators lay in wait.
In other words, be smart, and you’ll probably be safe.
But what will get you, no matter what, are bugs and insects. They will eat you alive. They will make your life miserable. They will make you wish you’d merely been murdered.
I’m reminded of this misery as I sit here with six weeping, oozing noseeum wounds, all inflicted in about six seconds while standing in the garden, inflicted by disgusting virtually-invisible freaks in which females suck human (and other) blood to facilitate laying eggs. (Since moving here, I’ve never spent so much time researching various insects)
Everyone in Vallarta, it seems, has bug and insect tales.
There’s my Canadian expat friend I was lunching with, recovering from dengue, describing that she watched the disease-carrying cretin bite her on her ankle amidst a swirl of mosquito-repellant smoke.
I listened intently as she shared her 30-years-of-living-in-Vallarta wisdom and the various ways in which to try to avoid getting bit. As she was sharing her secrets, I got bit by at least a half dozen mosquitos.
Then there were the wasps. I was at my desk minding my own business when I notice wasps on my veranda, dozens of angry, mean out-for-vengeance wasps. As one swooped in my open door, I took a swing, with it stinging my right forefinger. Over the next week, I watched as the venom snaked from my finger to my hand, to my wrist, and then up to my elbow before finally, the swelling and aching abated.
When it’s not the wasps, noseeums, or mosquitos, it’s the scorpions. I credit my housekeeper, in part, for keeping me safe from scorpions by making my bed so tight you can bounce a quarter off of it. When asked why so tight, she explained it’s to keep the scorpions out. Oh. Good to know
That same amiga and vecina recently got bit on the back of her hand by a spider mite. A bite by a mite – a mite, by definition, a teeny, tiny barely visible critter – that made the back of her hand swell to twice its normal size, covered by a dark, painful purple circle.
Then there’s mi amiga who owns a dress shop I frequent, who, when I told her told about my wasp encounter, shared she’s been stung twice by scorpions – and both times after attacking her, fell off dead as a doornail. I want what she has.
Then there’s the – oh wait — my neighbor just called up to me from below, issuing an alert, “Hey Jennifer, can you close your doors to the veranda – Pablo’s going to clear another (wasp) nest down here in the garden…”
And just now, I looked up at the wall above my doors to the veranda, and there’s a big, fat ugly spider!
Sigh. Another glorious insect-ridden day here in Vallarta.