I was reading in bed last night by torchlight and, feeling a brush of wing casing on my cheek reached up to find an extremely large cockroach. Maybe if I’d been at the Metropolitan I might have shrieked, but there didn’t seem much point here, so I just flicked it off and carried on reading. The book was one of those page turners, The Drop by Michael Connolly, and I was near its ridiculously implausible denouement. Virtually everything in the ‘library’ at the hotel at the moment is by Connolly (oh for some William Boyd, some Richard Ford, some Ian McEwan). If it had been less engrossing (or mind-numbing), I might have got up and padded through the dark house on the hunt with a torch and a flip flop, as many happy hours were spent as a teenager in Zambia. But no. Later as I lay in the dark I saw a blinking light in the corner: a lonely firefly. They are lovely insects; almost the very best. I remembered catching one and holding it, cupped in my hands to show George who was about three at the time, and he was amazed, full of wonder. Many nights on the Osa, I’ve looked out into the black night and seen thousands upon thousands of fireflies blinking, like a festival crowd during the final encore, and just felt elated. I felt bad for this one, stuck beside the cupboard, but in the dark I couldn’t catch him, and in the light, he sort of disappeared.
As far as other insect activity goes, there are the parrujas on the beach that are either there or not there, but, when they are there, they are hell, and ticks. I got my first tick this week. As for where, let’s just say I got it while sitting on an old bench at a place in the mangroves while wearing short shorts, and I didn’t want any help removing it, thank you. Apparently you can buy silver plated tick-removal pincers, designed to dangle from a belt. Anyway, no-one was sympathetic. “Oh – tick”, was the standard, dismissive, response. “I’ve had hundreds”. Really.
The very worst though, is this humungous and evil-looking black fly, which is either attracted to me, or to Deet, or to me in Deet, and seeks me out. I trapped this one using the classic glass and notebook manoeuvre and put him outside to live another day, but if he comes for me again, he’s had it.