N is for Nettable

Adjective land in alphabet land is getting to be a bit of a stretttttttch.

Nettable means capable of being netted.

Something I highly advise when travelling in insect filled countries (and yes, Canada is included) with creepy crawlers, flying cockroaches, and lurking biting things, just waiting for their chance.

I am a magnet for all things that sting, bite and generally freak travellers out (at least this family of travellers).

I have received a few insect awards along the way.

I am the proud recipient to be one of the very first UN workers in Cambodia (1993 election) to be diagnosed with malaria. And to surpass this award, the Australians diagnosed with me dengue fever at the same time. Imagine…mosquitoes love me 24/7, day and night. The upside – you lose a lot of weight and the downside – you lose a lot of hair!

Travelling in Namibia, I was lucky enough to find a friend in my bed who decided to bite me before we even met. After nabbing him, incarcerating him, he was hand delivered to the nearest doctor. No, I didn’t die but the pain and fear can lead you from A. I am happy and healthy to B. What just happened? to C. What is that? Is it poisonous? D. To a complete melt down – fairly quickly.

The evil thing that bit me in Namibia.

The evil thing that bit me in Namibia.

So I am now nettable, capable and most willing of being netted from Mozambique to Guatemala to Canada to Peru.

I will never forget the night of the flying cockroach invasion in Mozambique, a perfect setting for a horror movie. Read here for gory details. My mosquito net was the only thing keeping me from sprinting from that house of terror.

Again in Guatemala Jade and I huddled under our net amongst spiders the size of my hands and red ants that just wouldn’t let go. Neither of us slept much, stuck together from humidity and fear, laughing at our pathetic selves. Jade became an expert in the net, knowing how to undo it in mere seconds to get in and out. She threatened to boot me out if I messed with her system. A teen of her word, I followed the net rules and together, we remained. for better or for worse, until daylight.

Usually in Canada, I don’t think to pull out my net. However, recently if I could have paid someone to net my entire house from the hostile take over by disgusting rodents, some call mice, I would have gladly.

And sadly, they haven’t invented a fashionable net one can wear. Recently attacked by sand flies in Peru, I wonder why I love this thing called travel?!

colombia and peru 247

Sand flies don’t make your legs and feet look great or feel great!

Be safe and use a net! Important words from Family C who enjoys travelling from A to Z. 

What is your security blanket when you travel? 

How One Food Mistake Led To Another and Another

So it all began in the city of Maputo, Mozambique and ended in Jaisalmer, India. 

1.I am living in Maputo and looking for a “something I can eat somewhere safe” kind of restaurant. And so I find an “Italian”  restaurant that looks appealing, attractive and best of all, full of other people eating there (usually a good sign when travelling). I order the now infamous steak on a platter. Yup, in those good ole days (prior to this said steak) I was a meat eater. I am so hungry that I cut, fork, chew and chow down that steak in no time. (Oh, Did I forget to mention that it was dark outside where I was eating so I never really had a good look at that sucker?!)

So This Minor Steak Incident Led to Many Problems (otherwise now known as yersinia) Which Led to the Next Mistake.

2. So now I am living in Tete, Mozambique with some unpleasant side effects. As a result, I am no longer chowing down any meat and begin to look for some vegetarian options. It appears that the only choice that I can muster up is canned beans which I begin to eat straight from the can. As you can figure out, this gets old really quickly so I am on the serious hunt for anything else. So again… another “Italian” restaurant is discovered (you would think I would have learned my lesson from the first Italian restaurant). AND BONUS!!! They have pizza. Again it is dark outside (yes a recurring theme) and I begin to eat my pizza. OMG! As this is really nowheresville in Mozambique, this pizza has gone all wrong. It has ketchup instead of tomato sauce! Truly revolting but desperate, I actually eat most of it. I can barely think of it now.

So I Am Now a Full Blown Vegetarian (thanks to Mozambique) Looking for Options in the Desert in India in the Middle of a Camel Race

3. I am hungry as my dad and I have been watching these camel races all day and now into the night in the middle of the desert in Rajasthan, India. Again I go on the hunt for something I can eat and yes, again it is dark but this time it wouldn’t have mattered anyways. I luck out and find vegetarian samosas. In fact they are so delicious that I eat many of them. (Oh Did I forget to mention that they had most likely been sitting out in the sun all day?!) So yup… I spent extra quality time at that location waiting for my stomach to change from Delhi Belly to  a stomach that can handle “I have to get into a car and drive 10 hours back to the city on a “road” – loosely used term – with bathrooms ranging from super lousy to non-existent.”

Hopefully, this is one time that I have learned from my mistakes.

The Night From Cockroach Hell

So I am “working” (loosely used term) with the UN in Tete, Mozambique and I have to find a place to stay. The current location of party central in divey hotel wasn’t actually working. Spending nights laying in bed (another loosely used term) listening to bar fights, drunken who knows what and gun shots ringing in the air was not what I would call conducive to getting a night’s sleep. I had just arrived from South Africa where a bomb had gone off in my office building. Feeling a bit PTSD, I would hit the floor of the hotel room every time a gun would go off. Again not conducive to sleep.

So the answer… begin the accommodation search.

Now these were the days of no technology; you just didn’t punch into google and wait for an answer. This meant hitting the pavement. So back in the day, someone knew someone who knew someone who would magically have a place to rent (how American dollars make things happen). This is how I found the house.

Well, when I first saw the house, it looked great. Full of furniture, full of happy people and soon to be full of happy me. I moved in almost immediately.

And then it happened… right away… why waste time. I am getting ready to go to bed and I notice something on the wall. No wait… a few more things than just one something. No wait… the wall appears to be actually moving. Hiding under my mosquito net, I yell for back up. After a quick investigation, it appears that said wall is crawling with my oh so favourite, cockroaches.

Like What Is Going On Here?!

Cockroaches are supposed to scurry around on the floor and be scared of people… hence you see one or two maximum and call it a cockroach day.NOPE… not in this house in Tete, Mozambique… these cockroaches are not following the rules.

Freaking out (at this point mildly) I go to the bathroom and something flies at me. Hits me on the head! OMG it is a friggin cockroach that flies. These are pretty talented cockroaches here in Tete. I go to brush my teeth and one wanders out of the drain. No..no…no… this can’t be happening to me. This is just a cockroach nightmare that I will wake up from. So I head to the toilet as I am sure I need to be sick and there they are… even there, crawling, swimming, and not drowning.

I run back to my bed, check its security, throw down the mosquito net and begin the worst meltdown of my life. Yup… even to this day. I cry, I panic, I swear, I rage,… I will never work with the UN again… I will never live in Africa again… I will never leave Canada again… and so my list goes on.

I radio my “support person” – very loosely used term – the next morning. My Portuguese sucks and this is going to be a war of words and I need someone who can really talk. Not me saying… hello my name is… how are you … stuff. He arrives and I show him the evidence. He agrees this might be a bit extreme. He calls the owner of cockroach torture house.

They arrive. They see it as no big deal.

WTH? I LOSE IT! I do a major freak out which probably kind of scares them and they agree to give me part of my 500 dollars back. I think I paid around 200 bucks that night for the privilege of this nightmare. Needless to say, I am now terrified of even one little baby cockroach; I swear every time I see one, I will never travel again.

Ha Ha Who am I kidding?