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What’s bugging me?

December 26, 2011

What’s bugging me?

December 26, 2011

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By Kt


Despite my towny tendencies to not liking the outdoors much and not really getting down with nature, my early formative years were spent in the country and I am therefore not squeamish about much. I know where meat, dairy and vegetables come from proper and know there’s essentially lots of excrement involved.
Bugs and insects, in particular, have never really bothered me. In fact, mum and I lived rather happily for a while sharing our Taunton front room with a rather large spider who we named either Harry or Henry, can’t remember which. He’d come out in the evenings – to watch tv maybe – around that time mum and I were very keen on Soldier, Soldier (ask your mums kids), so maybe there was some spider love for Robson Green. Anyway, I digress. Point is, I’m not really bothered by them or the thought of them on our trip. I mean, I don’t especially like them crawling on me, but who does?
There was a particularly large spider,  loitering around our corridor in Suva, that Mark took issue with that didn’t bother me in the slightest. I just (an hour ago) crossed paths with a rather large and boisterous cockroach, who I gave way to (he seemed to stomp with such purpose), but I didn’t shy away. I’m not relishing the time, that undoubtedly will come, when I am sharing a room or a train carriage with more than one cockroach and may have one sit on my shoulder or scamper down my hair. Not nice, but I am mentally prepared for that.
However, there is one insect, friend to no-one, deadly enemy to many, who has already become my nemesis. He has scarred me and sent me into various states of paranoia. God, damned MOSQUITOS!!!!!!!! within the first few days they’d left their mark and when you’re not ferociously scratching the many bites, you’re marvelling at the leprosy like effect all these bites are having on your skin. It’s not helping me achieve the sun-kissed ‘I’m travelling around the world, don’t you know’ look, that I’d been aiming for. Luckily, looking around, all my fellow travellers are in the same situation. And at least in Fiji they are not that dangerous. There is Dengue fever but only in pockets and if we’re clever with the bug spray we can contain the assault. But still.
All it takes is to know that one of the blighters is in the room somewhere for me to turn into a mad woman trying to track it down. I’m practically in camouflage, hiding in the bushes. It’s at night when you’re sleeping that they do their worst of course. They are like the anti-Santa!!! So you’ve got to get to them before they get to you.
My usual peace loving demeanour is dropped when I obliterate one of them – it’s blood curdling satisfying.
I’m not sure I’m going to be able to avoid them much over the next year or so. Maybe I’ll reach some kind if eutopian state where I don’t think about them anymore. Till then, the battle continues against those little forces of evil. Wish me luck.

Other Fiji Wildlife

In Fiji, I became oddly fascinated by the bugs – I particularly like the metallic green one I saw in the sand at Maqai. I suggested to Mark that perhaps I could start a new career as a bugologist (obviously don’t know the correct term, but that works for me). He was enthusiastic and thought this was a top idea if it meant coming out to Fiji to study them so that he could, I quote, become a ‘do-bugger-all-ogist’!!

Alongside the bugs, we had lots of geckos/lizards. The one’s on Maqai had bright, electric blue tails. There were also cane toads everywhere that apparently aren’t a good thing and shouldn’t be touched. Even after learning this, Mark had the tendency to lean in to stroke them – it’s like travelling with a ten year old, I tell you! Not being indigenous, they are a pest and all over the place at night, it’s difficult not to kick them you needed to use your torch wisely. I did hear from the people we met from Oz, that cane toad golf is rather popular over there.

Slightly more domestic, the chickens at Tuvununu were just plain old chickens, but it was interesting to see them, scampering around on the edges of the sea, jumping over the rocks to peck for food. And was it terribly wrong of us, when they were down by where we had seen a sea snake, that we kind of wanted to see the chicken taken down?
Speaking of sea snakes – well they are pretty much the only creature of any concern in Fiji – they have nothing dangerous there at all. But, despite my initial concerns, and my practically drowning myself, scrambling to get out of the water when Mark spotted one when we were on the Coral Coast, we have since learned that despite, being highly venomous, they are a chilled out old thing and are barely a threat. The locals don’t think twice about them. Mark came very close to one while diving and being Marked followed it around for a bit. If it was going to bite anyone, it was going to be some big, english stalking dufus. He did say it was odd that this thing swam through the water and turned around with this snakes head, which just looked out of place under water.

There were some birds which were in abundance everywhere and no idea what they are called but we called them the ‘masked crusader’ birds as they looked like they had batman and robin style masks on. They always came in pairs too and we liked to think of them going on secret missions to save the world. In reality, they mainly just knicked the food off plates left lying around – but maybe they were taking it off to starving children somehwere, or to build a dam to save a village threatened to be engulfed by a river? Maybe?

My absolute favourite thing in Fiji, though, was the blue starfish. They are gorgeous. Nothing much to say about them really. They don’t do anything. They just sit there. I think it’s partially that this is one of those occasions when I didn’t know that such things existed, so with the un-known existence of them, they become doubly exciting. I have made a note, not to really read up about any wildlife in the countries we go to so rather than having a checklist of things you strive to see, you are just pleasantly sruprised by the things you stumble across.