A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about bites

Battling with Biters 2

Stupid People

There has been a lot of talk about vaccinations recently although this post is not about the measles debate it did make me think quite a bit about the ideals of social responsibility or lack of it, as it turns out to be.

I spent a little under two months living and working in the jungle, biters were a big problem (more of that later) especially sand flies, anyone who has ever had the misfortune to be bitten by one of these things knows that it can sometimes take months for the area to stop itching and aggravating and that’s not in extreme cases either, generally you would & should do all you can to keep these evil minute monsters away, add one of those bites to sun burnt skin and you're seriously in tropical hell!

I can’t tell you the amount of times I sat and watched people who had arrived in the no joke jungle without a drop; not one drop of insect repellent and then proceed to scratch the living daylights out of themselves, it’s unbelievable misery brought on solely by stubborn stupidity and maybe even a bit of laziness, now don’t get me wrong these biters at this particular place were exceptionally evil even with a thick layer of a well know wax repellent slapped onto my skin couldn’t stop all of them and sweet jesus there were a lot! but it stopped enough of them that I was able to deal with the ones I had while contemplating peoples stupidity.

And people are stupid.

If you are travelling to a tropical location expect to get bitten, why would you not? 

I know the general rule for mosquitos sand flies and anything else you can’t see but can fly into you leaving you with a bite so big it that hurts, is cover up at dusk & dawn but in my experience they are about all day every day that’s including night time.

For the battle with the biters you have to have a plan otherwise you will be in total misery.

Maybe it’s because I have such severe reactions to insect bites that I feel so strongly about people not wearing repellent and then complaining of such discomfort, I have no sympathy for them, none at all, although I do try and offer advice, especially about non toxic alternatives you’d surprised at how many people scoff at the idea of crunching some papaya seeds or dabbing fresh lime juice onto the bite or tea tree oil if you have it handy, these unassuming little gifts that mother nature has given us can greatly reduce the unbearable need to itch, trust me I know about these things! Some people unfortunately for them would prefer to sit there itching, scratching and moaning about chemicals in most store bought repellents then open up their minds to the safer alternative, maybe not 100% effective but still effective enough. Anything's better than what you’re currently experiencing right? Anythings better than taking a folk to your arm right? cos digging fork prongs into you skin for some sweet relief is perfectly ok?

Not the greatest photo but an idea of my reactions. This one a bite on the belly ;-(

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A particular low point, stuck in the Jungle with a swollen foot & nothing else but an eye watering ointment for animals to treat me ;-(

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Posted by Dovesei 10:09 Archived in Colombia Tagged people jungle _ bites mosquitos Comments (0)

Battling with Biters 3

The Ginger One

I once met a guy when I lived on the Pacific Coast here in Colombia, I need you to picture the scene; jungle behind you, your standing on black sand staring at the crystal clear Pacific Ocean now I don’t want to bring looks into things but again I need you to picture the scene. He is under 6 foot but over 5’9 white I mean lilly white or blanco as they say here with you guessed it bright orange hair, a kind of unfortunate stereotype, a man clearly still dealing with issues from his childhood, he constantly needed to be in control of the conversation & spoke at length about how many jungles he had explored and how he never uses repellent but yet his bites were bigger than my bites blah blah blah a man child in the jungle, we got into quite a debate about his irresponsibility or what I perceived to be his irresponsibility because he got off on dancing with death, strolling in a Dengue infested area without any repellent however toxic is in my opinion a foolish man’s move in his opinion he was choosing to take this risk because it was his choice. Fair enough! Each to their own! Still foolish!

He also never had the Yellow Fever Vaccine but you know full well that if he were to contract any of these diseases he would expect the best level of care possible, as we all would BUT some of us whether we believe in vaccines or not put our personal pride before the safety of both ourselves and others.

Now if you feel that strongly about having to wear toxic chemicals on your skin to keep away killer diseases which I do, as mentioned in an earlier post I am looking for natural alternatives of which this douche had not & would not consider. It’s a strange mindset, one that has total, absolute fascination with extreme nature but still carries such a high level of ignorance that mother nature may well make him pay one day. Westerners eh!? If there is one thing I have learned about living in the jungle, it’s respect her AT ALL TIMES!

As I said before if you don't want to continuously use toxic chemicals on your skin look for your own solution that involves more than just rolling bare back. Speak to locals about what they use and how they combat reactions & disease’s and especially what they use to repel insects chances are they will know of a local herbs etc that you can then use and include in your armoury. Never underestimate the locals!

Posted by Dovesei 10:50 Archived in Colombia Tagged jungle _ vaccinations bites mosquitos_repellent_deet_free Comments (0)

Battling with Biters 5

FIGHTING BACK!!!!

SO like a fool I came back to the Jungle of the Sierra Nevadas - am I glutton for punishment? or do I just enjoy being tormented!??

Slavering myself in insect repellent while waiting for a taxi in the middle of the market in a sweltering hot Santa Marta, I thought I was ready or at the very least prepared for what might happen! As it turns out a nightmare of a journey up to Minca occurred, one which saw me have a little breakdown in the taxi - this was after over an hour waiting - (again just in case you forgot, it was sweltering heat in Santa Marta) - for the car to even move we were then informed that we were going on a detour to buy a table for the old American guy who's half pissed drunk & won't stop talking - big sniff!! - So we go buy the table if stuffed into the back along with the rest of us, we finally get moving out of town only to stop at the petrol garage 10 minutes later. Here in Colombia everybody has to get out of the car if it is being filled with petrol SO out we all get again into the sweltering heat & waited for the tank to be filled, then back into the car - this is when I had my mini meltdown, we were running late the sun was setting, solely because I didn’t want to be riding passenger on a motor taxi through the jungle in the dark which was now becoming a very real possibility I went on like a bitch it had nothing to do with Jorge the American jarr or the fact that the woman in front of me was breast feeding her baby and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, I mean nothing but what the fuck??? her boobs were so bruised so so so bruised, my heart went out to her but I was hot, hungry & tired and nowhere near where I needed to be and I wanted out of this fucking collectivo!!!

Back on the ridge for no more than 15 minutes and I had been done TWICE I can't tell you how much I haven't missed that feeling not one tiny bit as I bolted straight for the cream I wondered if there would ever come a time when the cream stopped working and I would just have to live with burning limbs!! seriously though, what would I do? carry around bags of limes!???

To live in the Jungle is to accept that Mother Nature RULES no questions no doubt she will always have the upper hand and it’s up to us to respect that if we choose to live within her domain. I want to work with her which is why I have been experimenting for the last while with DEET/chemical free insect repellents.

The first post from battling with biters was about DEET free products (scroll way down) & since then I have run out of my supply I desperately needed something else!

I read somewhere once about cloves and alcohol (vodka if your flush, bog standard antiseptic alcohol from the pharmacy if you’re like me) combined was a good natural repellent so with every intention of following the instructions of leave cloves soaking in alcohol for 4 days I put the cloves into the alcohol and went to a festival. 6 weeks later I’m still carrying the alcohol infused with cloves around in my bag not really sure what I’m going to do with it, I had also bought a pretty big bottle of citronella oil which, I was also carrying around in my bag!

I found myself moaning one day about flaming limbs - blah blah blah bore off ! I’m getting sick of hearing myself complain about bug bites so whilst talking to a fellow Londoner who lives here in the Jungle about natural alternatives to deet we realised that between us we may have found a perfect formula to repel death.

As off today (& we made this yesterday) 4 people have used our concoction, we have a name we have a rough sketch of our logo and we also have testimonies that our potion works it's only day one in a buggyish location but it’s exciting, tomorrow we make a larger batch and take it to a wider audience who're dealing with a particularly bad infestation of sand flies , if it works there it could quite frankly work anywhere. Our market research begins...........

Posted by Dovesei 12:00 Archived in Colombia Tagged nature natural coconut health oil bites mosquitos herbal deet_free sandflies mosquitos_repellent_deet_free cloves Comments (0)

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