A Quick Update

In 2010, we moved back to the small town in Colorado that I never stopped missing while we lived in Mexico. Now I sometimes miss Mexico, but I wouldn't travel as freely as we did when we were there, camping out in remote areas and so forth.

Mexico today is in a period of change, and in many ways it is more dangerous now. That said, I have plenty of American friends who still live there very happily, just taking a few more precautions than they did in the past.

Just to say!

Rosana

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July 19, 2006 — Ah, the tropics! Glorious sunsets seen through the graceful fronds of palm trees, deliciously warm weather you can gloat about while friends up north are huddling in their homes, freshly picked papayas for breakfast…

And bugs.

Nature is prolific and we have seen quite a variety of spiders, scorpions, mosquitoes, wasps, leaf-cutter ants, and other creepy crawlies and little flying things.

There are the bobos who form clouds of dozens to thousands at dusk. They are not very interested in us but it can be hard to walk through a group of them without inhaling a few. I’ve developed a hold-my-breath method, and now that the rains have begun, there are fewer bobos around. There is now a sort of flying ant we hadn’t seen before, but in much smaller numbers.

The first times I used our swimming pool, I was intimidated by the huge wasps, a lovely golden color, who regularly took drinks from the pool. Then I noticed that they actually avoided me. Now we coexist okay. I’ve also learned to be relatively nonchalant about the many tiny ants and other little critters that cross my desk, dining table, or toe.

Here in the Lake Chapala area, we are at about 5000 feet and the mosquito situation is nowhere near as bad as I’ve found it to be at sea level. When we stayed at a beach resort on the Gulf of Mexico, my legs were immediately¬† dotted. But even here, now that the rains have begun, there are enough mosquitoes to cause trouble sometimes. They are quiet little devils, so we often don’t know we’ve been bitten till later.

If you’re thinking of retiring or living in Mexico or in some other tropical haven, just expect that you will have to come to terms with insects and other such beings. We’ve chosen to use a spray around the doors and windows of the house to keep out the scorpions and monster spiders, and we got it from a veterinarian who said it was nontoxic to cats and dogs, once it dried. (I don’t remember its name.) Kelly has used a spray can of Raid very judiciously, to kill a nest of wasps after he’d experienced the pain of their bites and to deter some leaf-cutter ants on the march.

I wear a long-sleeved shirt impregnated with something called Buzz-Off, based on pyrethrin, and it seems to cut down on my mosquito bites. (You can google Buzz-Off and find a lot of clothing products that have it. I practically lived in the shirt in Idaho last month.)

Ah, the tropics! Tranquil and teeming…

Comments from the old blog:

  • Try a PennyRoyal – Eucalyptus mix – Pennyroyal is the key and it is safe.

    No shortage of no-see-ums in Colorado ;-(

    John

  • Hi Rosana – here is my recipe:
    1/2 cup olive oil
    6 drops each: citronella, eucalyptus, rosemary,lavender (teatree oil is optional) then add 2 drops pennyroyal.

    This REALLY works.

  • Hi Rosana,

    Ah, yes, the wonderful subject of bugs. I remember them well. When I lived in Mexico, my roommate and I began a sort of classification of bugs from dumb to smart. The black,little gnat looking things in bathrooms were on the dumb end and certain mosquitos were on the smart end. The flying ants maybe what in many parts are called hormigas de San Juan. They seem to come out in swarms after June 24 which is dia de San Juan. Then depending in whose home we were at, the mosquitos (which I learned are called zancudos, because mosquitos are just little moscas, flies) could be very obnoxious and obvious pests, while in another place, they were stealth fighters that waited till we slept and would go for the face. Anyway, now that I’m in Idaho, I’m glad that for the most part, my house only has enough flies and mosquitos I can count on one hand.

    Arlene

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