Battle of the Bloodsuckers

Trip Start Mar 11, 2011
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Beachside Holiday Park Bay of Islands
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of New Zealand  , North Island,
Monday, March 21, 2011

Every night the Lees perform a ritualistic exorcism. High priestess, Dee's role in the ceremony is to shed light on the situation; the situation being the inner perimeter of the van. Simultaneously Sangoma Lee follows the same path with an ignited black coil, this to smoke out any nasty critters that may be lurking. Ordinary coils just repel mozzies. These ones actually make them drop dead! (Yet another useful item left by Ze Germans) While chanting we also light a citronella candle, a symbol of our strife. That seems to be the only real purpose it serves. It does little to repel anything except the darkness.

One of my biggest fears for this trip was becoming a regular blood meal. We didn't think that NZ would be too bad as there isn't a huge variety of biting insects and it's not malarial. But my allergy to mozzie bites means the spot swells up, itches like crazy, and turns into a LEEsion that sometimes contains pus. Very unpleasant stuff!

Dealing with mozzies and other flying fiends is an ongoing learning experience. You would think that us Africans are accustomed to dealing with them, but with more than 7 years of London life we're even taken aback when we cross paths with an ant! So we've basically starting again from SCRATCH. 

After that first night we made damn-sure that repellent was right at hand; all 3 bottles of them. My powerful secret weapon is one specially formulated for use in safari regions. It is so potent that it stripped the black from my Swatch watch! Plus we each pop a clove of garlic per day (following our dear friend, Michelle's, suggestion). So we thought we were well-equipped, especially after killing 12 in one massacre. Those pesky pests thought otherwise...

One fine day after washing my hands, I got bitten on my knuckle. It swelled up so badly that I feared my ring would have to be cut off! But dear Rob came to the rescue with his heavy-duty anti-histamines.

Lesson # 1: Reapply repellent after each trip to the loo. So much for water-resistance!

After days of non-stop tropical rain these tiny predators are particularly active. We had to walk through long, wet grass with flip-flops to get to the van. That night you could play Connect-the-dots on our feet, particularly after we highlighted each mound with toothpaste.

Lesson # 2: Don socks and shoes at dusk.

But that night one cunning bastard flew right up my trouser leg and bit me just above the sock line! Buzz off already!

Lesson # 3: Tuck trouser-bottoms into afore-mentioned socks.

And we also realised that sometimes, in some locations, these blood-hungry pests start feeding BEFORE dusk!

Lesson # 4: Apply repellent all day long.

Then one evening while answering nature's call at a long-drop loo, these sneaky buggers shot out of the bowl!

Lesson # 5: Take insect spray with you to the loo.

And so the learning process continues...                 

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