Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I finally feel like I’m living in the tropics. It’s hot and it’s humid, which it seems I like. I say this writing in the shade of the deck, there’s a breeze blowing in off the sea and I have lime water to sip.

The bananas I picked last week have ripened. A couple have been opened by black bees and there is a mini swarm in the corner feasting on soft, sweet creamy flesh. The bees don’t sting and seem to keep away the hordes of fruit flies I was expecting. Occasionally a small brown butterfly or two will join the swarm. There are 3 lizards living in a crack in the deck near the bananas. They watch the bees, taking their chance when they can. They fight over the butterflies. Molly sits on the chair closest to the bananas. She watches the lizards, she hasn’t caught them yet, she has better luck with the bigger ones who seem to live inside the house. Hoss lies near the bananas, he watches everything, but he only eats the bananas, though will snap at the bees who buzz him when he’s choosing his banana. He peels it and eats the fruit, leaving the peel tattered and torn on the deck. The ants who live everywhere clean up the banana peel. This all happens in one corner of the deck, take it and multiply it by every square metre and you’ll have some idea of the life here.

I often feel a tenant in the home of the insects. Ants and cucarachas seem the main occupants. I sweep ants out of my bed, I flick them off my laptop, I brush them outside on a daily, sometimes twice daily basis. My recorder wouldn’t sound until I removed the colony of ants which had taken up residence, in school, it’s the cucarachas which inhabit recorders and the coffee machine. If I get up at night I send cucarachas fleeing with my torch, their sleek impossibly shiny toffee brown bodies cascading over the side of tables, up walls, under fridges, below doors. I learned that cucarachas live in colonies which are democratic, and which work – I don’t know which surprises me more, a democracy which works or that there are whole colonies of these creatures where I live. Beetles of every hue and shape visit or live alongside the larger beasts: yellow, black, blue, red, orange, brown, green – every colour and colour combination, each with their 6 delicately poised claw feet and anthers of varying length and width. A chagas beetle is in an upturned glass on the table. I don’t want to kill it, but I don’t want to let it go nearby. Maybe tomorrow it’ll go for a bike ride with me. The chagas beetle bites, bad enough given it’s a good inch and a half long. But it can carry a parasite which can be passed in the bite. The parasite takes up residence in the heart and begins to grow, but so slowly that it can take 20 years before it causes a heart attack in the host. It’s the little things which are dangerous here. Right now there’s a little bug crossing my computer screen,

he’s in disguise and has built a junkpile on his bag that looks like seed fluff and dust, his legs don’t look long enough to reach his back, how did he do it?

I cut my finger yesterday opening a shutter, it got infected – easily done here – and I’ve doused it with tree tea and alcohol and bandaged it. Wounds take a long time to heal and even the smallest cut can be problematic. I have apple cider vinegar in my medicine chest and some spilt, could only have been last week. The spill was covered in a thick white furry growth of mould I think, which was being harvested by hordes of tiny ants. I won’t mention what happened to the dogs’ bones after they had finished with them. Suffice it to say that life is very very vibrant here.