Sunday, March 19, 2006

Flying Teeth

The worst thing about the Coiba´s jungle isn´t the symphony of scary noises that you hear when you´re trying to sleep or the thought of waking up with a tarantula on your face or a fer-de-lance in your pants. It´s the flying teeth.

Up till the time we set up camp, we hadn´t seen any mosquitoes at all. I thought that was a good sign, especially since I was going to be sleeping without a bug net. But there were these gnats--called "chitras" by locals--that began to eat us alive.

The strange thing is that they only seem to come out at dusk, like microscopic vampires hell-bent to suck as much blood as possible before the sun goes down. It seems like the only purpose for their existence is to bite things, particularly succulent gringos that aren´t used to sleeping in the jungle.

Because of this, Chuck´s boy scout troop used to call them "flying teeth." The name has stuck. It´s amazing how something so tiny can terrorize sophisticated beings like us. By our second night in the jungle, we were saying things like, "Let´s cook dinner before the teeth come out," and the guys were jumping in their jungle hammocks as soon as the sun disappeared over the ocean. Without a bug net, I wrapped up in my emergency blanket and t-shirt and hoped for the best.

No comments: