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    Pests I Have Encountered Abroad

    Traveling into foreign countries will definitely bring you into contact with pests you might not have even realized were pests. This happened to me in South America several times and once in India.

    Pests Abroad
    Image by pestctr7 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/60228745@N02/)

    The most common and unnerving pest encounter was while learning the value of high-end hotel rooms. When traveling abroad, it is worth the little bit more you pay to get a very nice room. In South America, my husband and I decided to save some money and try a middle-of-the-road less expensive hotel. As soon as we flipped on the light, there were tiny bugs running into all the cracks. So small and hard to see, the only reason we did see them, was because we surprised them with the light, and because there were so many, at first we thought the floor was moving.

    South America is a very intense place to travel. Located near the equator, it is like going into a gigantic green-house. Everything there grows fast and big. This includes all the bugs. We saw a grasshopper that was two fingers thick and two index fingers long. And the kinds of pests are remarkable. In the Amazon jungle, there are mud dwelling teeny weeny bugs known as peeoons. I can’t spell it because I have never seen it written down. These almost microscopic bugs can get in between your toes, or burrow into your skin and then they begin to make nests under there that look like blister bubbles. They later hatch into disgusting teeny weeny bugs that stream out from under your skin. Yuk. Just think burning and itching. But magnified.

    The Chameleons in South American Jungles are intensely common and wonderful. They will creep into clothing left laying on the floor, or sit basking lazily in the sun with one eye going one way and the other…well, you know.

    One night while in a tiny village in the Amazon jungle we were dancing with some of the villagers in a ceremony in their church. Suddenly, up by the ceiling it looked like a giant rainbow light-filled bubble that was floating around yet it was obvious it was some sort of a bug, not a bubble. Clearly it had transparent, multi-colored laced wings. For quite a while I kept working to convince myself it was NOT a fairy. Finally, I saw one land. It was our friend the grasshopper! His usually folded translucent wings were huge, and when he tried to fly into the light near the ceiling of the church, he literally looked like a flying rainbow bubble.

    In India it was the monkeys. We had already learned to stick to the nicest places. We learned to stay in fine hotels since they cost so little anyway, and we learned that monkeys can be robbers, teasers and beggars. India has a dryer heat than South America. This is why the bug and pest problem there was not quite as intense. Baboons there can be a little threatening; as can the cobras if you are unlucky enough to travel into places they are common. The jungles in India look like scrub hills from California; at least that’s what we thought. But the animals and the understanding of what dangers lay in those “jungles” need to be addressed clearly and with knowledgeable people if you want to travel in remote places in India without problems.

    The best rule of thumb is to stick to where it feels clean. The dirtier a place feels in general, the more bugs and pests you will find. And not always right away! You may have to suddenly turn on a couple of lights, or leave a shirt lying on the floor for a while to find them.

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