One of the things we liked best about this area when we visited in 2010 was the absence of bugs. Well, that was 2010. This year features one of the worst outbreaks of mosquitos in local memory. Not only that, the property we are staying on features 93 species of trees, lovingly tended and watered in the local custom of flooding the land with large, shallow, and–you got it–standing pools of water. What with the heat, it’s mosquito breeding heaven.
Desperate for relief, we ask for mosquito nets for the beds. Instead, a man shows up to install window screens. Not only is his hammer held together with string, he tries to minimize the effort he needs to invest in the job by working around the window bars rather than removing and reinstalling them.
It would be an interesting size of mosquito that could not get through that opening.
Devoted followers of the cult of duct tape, we give that a try. It does not, of course, stick so we augment it, uselessly, with scotch tape.
Certain the whole window screen effort will come to naught, especially given the gaping cracks in the front and side doors, I head to the negotio de tela (fabric store) for some neto, filo (thread) and an aguja (needle–and yes you can buy them here one at a time). Knowing my pronunciation will utterly fail me on the aguja front, I print the word on a scrap of paper and take it with me.
Back at the casa, I recruited the floor squeegee and employed a leather thong S saved from a sunhat discarded on Chile.
A plastic grocery bag makes a good substitute for string so I can tie a weight at one end of the netting seam.
ta DA. An anti-mosquito bed cover.
Being grit averse, I’ve taken to bagging the electronics. The bag on the keyboard is thin enough I can leave it in place when typing. Not all grit is bad. The rocks on the table (very large grit) are dog deterrents, essential for the walk to the pool.
And hot. Did I mention hot? Newspaper reports today (January 24) were that temperatures had not been this high since 1961. In the north, away from both the mountains and the ocean, temperatures soared above 45. A strong wind storm in the early hours finally brought us relief. A comfortable 25 for an afternoon high.