Bichos

So many better things to report on, but tonight I write about Bichos, because today they made my itchy day.

We finally arrived in Tupiza, Bolivia, after biking 500km through the desert, up up and up, past the tree line, past the cactus line, across the border, and 2 more days up up and up to Canyon country, where I wouldn’t expect an ant to live.

We arrive so thoroughly hot and exhausted that we sat under a statue of Don Pedro on his horse for over an hour before making a move and checking into a nice hostel. The courtyard is pretty, the beds are made of cactus (the only “wood” up here above the tree line), with Starry Night comforters and nice, firm but comfy mattresses.

I’d love to say I slept like a baby, but since getting up into the higher altitudes my sleep has been of the tossing and turning variety, and I’ve been waking up like clockwork between 6 and 7am, ready to start the day. But last night, at the tail-end of four straight hard days of biking, I slept pretty damned well (and fell asleep at 8pm!)

Today, however, I was itching my ass off. Unfortunately I’m somewhat of a scratcher, and despite my will not to, I kept catching myself, itching my hands, neck, arms, ankles, FACE. The bastards ate my face. I didn’t even realize it until, when I was talking with the hostess of the inn and asked if there are many mosquitos here, she told me to stop itching my face. As I was washing-up tonight, I found eight bites on my face. Maybe once or twice in my life I’ve had a bug bite on my face, but I look abused tonight. By the way, both hosts of the inn say there are no mosquitos here. But Jeff claims the mosquitos are biting him, too. (Fortunately, he’s not a scratcher, so his situation is code blue compared to mine.)

Funny thing is I haven’t seen or felt one of them yet, which leads me to question whether I’m having an allergic reaction to something, or there are bed-bugs in my pretty bed, with it’s deceivingly fresh, crisp linens and new pillow.

It’s bed time again, and I’m on edge. My scratching is out of control and starting to hurt, so I resort to an old home remedy that I use from time to time, for everything from pimples to bug bites: toothpaste. I start applying to my wrists first, then hands, up my arms, behind my arm-pits, face, and I habitually count in times like these… eighty-fucking-four picadas (bites) from the BICHOS (bugs). Aaaah, the cooling mint is working it’s magic, soothing and then drying the little bastards. Jeff, already turned-in for the night, gets up and opens the window to the courtyard. Hello!? You want to let them in?! Reply: It’s hot in here.

Just in case, I’ve made my bed, laid out my bedding on top, and now I’m going to say a prayer to Jesus with his sacred heart, whom I visited on the hilltop overlooking town today, to keep the bugs away.

Okay, one just buzzed in my ear! (Are you kidding me?!) God-dammit!

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