Monday, June 9, 2008

The vampires are breeding

The bane of my existence made its first seasonal appearance in my home last night. I woke up around 3 am feeling somewhat disoriented. My arms were itching uncontrollably, and then I heard it -- the all too familiar buzz of the mosquito. I thought, no, it can't be, it's too early yet. But then I recalled the rains of the last few days and daytime temperatures in the 70s (F). Perfect breeding conditions. Regardless of the fact that we live in a ninth-storey flat, they had found their way up and through my slightly cracked windows.

Though in my lifetime I've come into contact with all manner of insects that would strike fear into many -- flying cockroaches and white scorpions in The Gambia, to name just a few -- the mosquito is the only one that has burrowed into my psyche, driven me to extreme measures, and brought out my irrational side.

And perhaps this is all because the mosquito factors into my very earliest memories at the age of 3 on my first trip to my mother's homeland, the Philippines. Though we all slept under nets, somehow they still managed to invade the inner sanctum and suck our blood. And I always seemed to get the brunt of their attacks. I have an allergy to these bites and get large welts. So as a 3-year-old I had these all over my limbs and they eventually turned into dark spots. I returned to the States, to the horror of my father who had not joined us on the trip, with my own personal leopard skin.

I don't understand why the majority of flats here lack any sort of screening on the windows or even the track structure so one can install them on their own. Seems like a pretty basic consideration in constructing any sort of building in a metropolis with an out of control bug problem. So this weekend I will be sure to be found at Koçtaş -- Turkey's equivalent to Home Depot -- purchasing screening material. One of my co-workers tells me this comes in the form of rolls that you must cut down to size and an insufficient amount of velcro to attach them to the window frame -- which he has supplemented with double-sided tape.

Meanwhile, I'll be sleeping in the mosquito-free environs of my living room.

1 comment:

'beni' ('me' in Turkish) said...

I remember experiencing the same fate as a young child on the small Pacific island my mother was from. I would get eaten alive and be left with big red welts that left ugly scars. It happened to me in Australia, the Pacific and the Philippine islands also. I would be so allergic to the bites that they would last for weeks and today I still hold scars on my legs from them. When I moved to Istanbul last year I lived in Fatih. I would sleep with the window open and in the middle of the night awake to hear that buzz buzz buzzing noise around my head. I got badly bitten on my face and had welts and red spots for days. What happened to fly screens in this country? Thankfully our flat we now live in has screens, bar one which is the cut-and-make-your-own type. Good idea to grab some before the hotter weather sets in!Nothing worse than not being able to open the window in summer!