Paloma gets hit the worst!
My sister and I meet up in the lobby and compare legs. I thought I was hit pretty hard until I see her's. She looks like she's got leg-chicken pox, or measles or a bad case of leg acne. I can now show-off that I have very few bites.
We laugh and tell a friend, that our last tropical trip, we went everyday to the store to buy some kind of protection, remedy, or ointment for the no-seeum attacks. We even bought electric insect zappers. We even vowed to never go back to locales infested with no-seeums.
No see-ums: mini midges, a fraction of the size of mosquitoes, members of the Ceratopogonidae family with over 4000 known species--found in sub tropic and tropical areas of the world--mostly the Caribbean, but can be found anywhere in the world-I've encountered them in Fiji, Bahamas and now Mexico.The females need human blood to up the protein For their offspring eggs. It's awful knowing the bites I endure also perpetuate the species.
The only thing that is supposed to repel the pests is DEET, a known poison, dangerous if used consistently. But even used consistently, my family and I find it doesn't really help. One must resign oneself to no-see-um bites.
Yet, here we are again, in the tropics, in beautiful Puerto Vallarta with no-seeums. And after the wedding, my children, son-in-laws and grandchildren head north to a small beach town in Chacala, a remote place with raccoons that will enter the villa and open the fridge if we don't shut the doors at night; with hundreds of delightful hermit crabs; geckos running up the walls and hiding behind the art work; centipedes, moths, and the dreaded, life-altering, ubiquitous, no-seeums.
Yet, our rented home is an enclave by the sea, chosen from photos that promised the most amazing set-up, so amazing, I've been wondering if it can really exist.
The accommodations are incredible: a main house for eating and gathering and little casitas so everyone has their quiet and privacy. The cooks are skilled and prepare our meals with fresh fruits, vegetables and fresh catch from the sea. A fifty pound bag of oranges awaits in the pantry to be squeezed into delicious juice. The ocean is warm, the waves just right and the sand is soft. Snorkeling is superb. We have sand volleyball, a pool, a hot tub, and the pickleball court is a five minute walk away.
Yet, here I am in paradise scratching away and I'm not alone. Yesterday I was up at 4:30 a.m., awakened by intense itching.
We are in paradise, but there is no true, complete, absolute, paradise. Only glimpses of paradise, amidst the bites, the scratching, the poisonous Deet. It's a life paradox. Glimpses of the sublime, glimpses of pain--a rose surrounded by thorns.
If there is an ultimate paradise, a heaven, a place we are supposed to work towards, and sacrifice for, this earth could never be all we want it to be. It can only give us hope and a vision of what it might be like. We witness those moments of pure beauty, pure charity and love, but always, in an incomplete paradise, around the corner, we will find the opposite.
This is my view this morning--gorgeous. The sound is gentle surf and soft birds chirping in the jungle distance; my stomach rumbles for breakfast that someone else will cook and clean up after.
And then I bend over to scratch, not one, but several, bright red, irritated bumps on my arms, legs, and back (if I can reach).