Friday, August 11, 2006

4 inch grasshopper

It's been a good few days since I updated. Not that nothing's happened, quite the contrary - I've had my first 5 day schoolweek and my first experience of digestive track disasters, but the storms have been big and the internet interrupted.
It has been beautiful this week - the storms have happened off the mountain we've had the fireworks illuminating the sky and providing outrageous sunsets, but not the rain. Indeed it has only rained one day this week: everyone looks confused.
The absence of rain brings dust - enormous whorls get picked up by wind or passing traffic and thrown casually and generously about. I now realise this is yet another way to get worms: eggs from dried dog poop swirled up and shared liberally. Perhaps not, but counting the ways to pick up intestinal issues is a popular pastime around here.
We made the mistake of going to the Butterfly Gardens. I say mistake because we got there too late to wander around the enormous netted garden full of gloriously coloured flying flowers, and ended up instead in the scary insect house. There are a lot of really big weird things here. My last taxi driver was carrying a hercules beetle around in his cab: a 6 inch long beetle with enormous horns. There are a couple of scorpions and two large and seemingly harmless tartantulas and cockroaches as big as a frog. The nastiest thing though - apart from bullet ants, are the vampire beetles which carry parasites in their intestines. When one gets bitten the parasites get passed and lie dormant in their new host for 20 to 30 years, at which point they suddenly double the size of the victim's heart causing cardiac arrest. The cheery note pinned next to the thankfully dead specimens said not to worry as only about 10% of the victims actually died. Nice. The beetles themselves are fairly big and very easily recognized. I will watch for them.