Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Tale of the Mysterious Bug Bite

I woke up in the middle of the night on Thursday night to a sharp pain on the third toe of my right foot. After 2 seconds or so it started to itch like crazy, so I reluctantly got out of bed and went to the bathroom to see what it was. Being half asleep I couldn’t really see it, but decided it would be a good idea to scratch it as much it felt like it should be scratched, which was a lot. This resulted in me spending the next half an hour awake lying on top of my own foot to try to soothe the pain/itching that was radiating throughout it. When I woke up in the morning it still itched, but having learned my lesson I left it alone. During school it was bothering me under my shoe so when I got a chance I took it off to look at it. My toe was bright red and had swelled to twice its natural size. I was on my lunch break so I went to JP’s class to show him. He tried to get me to go to the school doctor, but when I got down to the infirmary she was outside lounging in the sun with some of the other staff and I felt weird pulling her away or worse, whipping my huge swollen toe out in front of all those ladies. I tried to ignore it.

That night we took a bus to a city called Cabarete. Doug, Stacy, JP, and I were going to catch the 4 o’clock bus, but Doug and Stacy had an electricity bill to pay so they followed us at 5. Here they cut off your electricity (I have heard) the first day that your bill is late. Also, you can’t pay online or mail in your payment; you have to pay at specific locations around the city. You also have to know where those locations are and be able to speak Spanish. Not super efficient. JP and I took the bus to Sosua (National Prostitution Capitol, remember?) and then got on the back of a mototaxi and rode the 14k to Cabarete. There we found our hotel, checked in (the hotel was called Tropical Beach Hotel, not a terribly imaginative name but pretty nice), and scarfed down some last minute dinner before they closed. Stacy and Doug arrived not long after and we went to a pizza place so that they could get something to eat too. We saw some prostitutes in the bathroom (unisex, weird anyway and especially weird in an establishment with prostitutes) and on the street, but not nearly as many as in Sosua. There were actually women in this city who were non-prostitutes (although most of them were sunbathing topless by day).

We wandered around for a bit after the pizza place and went down to the beach, where I indulged myself for the first time all day in scratching my foot. I tiptoed around it (no pun intended) and then vigorously scratched it by digging it down into the sand. It felt good and then horribly, horribly bad but the salt water helped. After the beach we were all really tired from the 4 hour bus ride, so we went to bed pretty early.

The next day I woke up and my foot was a swollen as ever, but there was a distinctive bulge/blister on it. Get ready, this is about to get gross. Being me, I tried to pop it, which didn’t work. We all went to breakfast and then down to the beach. There I finally just got on with it and scratched my toe, because it was itching worse than ever. It broke open and then after a few seconds a liquid oozed out. The magic of all of this was as soon as that happened it didn’t hurt or itch anymore. My body was right the whole time, it really needed vigorous scratching to get the poison out. While I was satisfied by that I am still wondering what on earth the bug was that bit me, and what was it doing in my bed? I think it might be time to consider sleeping with the windows open. I consider this event the first good one of a great day.

Next I settled in to reading Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut. I have read one and a half of his books before and I have never really gotten what all the fuss is about, but now I see. I read it cover to cover sitting in that chair on this lovely beach. It is excellent. Read it if you haven’t. I think it converted me to a new, made-up, religion.

After that I got some free piƱa coladas from the bar, went to one of the pools and played with a beach ball with Doug while JP ran and Stacy got a massage, and then showered and went to dinner. We had wine and a really good dinner (served with a side dish of sneaking the Haitian kids food through the railing) and then dessert and coffee (without which no great day would be complete) and then sat by the pool and waiting for the night show of African dance to start. We sat at the edge of the pool with our feet hanging in the water and watch as the dancers ran around the stage to various Lion King and other miscellaneous songs wearing next to nothing (think zebra thong for the lead) and screaming Hakkuna Mattata and cracking a whip. I could not figure out if any of them had actually seen The Lion King before. The dancing itself was pretty cool, and there was a fire breather, but the lady in the zebra thong gyrating to “He Lives in Me” was a little off-putting, especially because I think that song is about God.

After the show we had some last minute free drinks and then went to a bar. We had consumed enough where Stacy and I felt certain that we could get the whole club dancing. After two hours and a lot of sweating we had not succeeded, but we had fun trying. We went down to the water and then back to our hotel rooms for the night. It was a simple day that included everything I like. It was amazing. Not to mention I was no longer thinking about my toe, which was nice.

Sunday we ate breakfast, sat by the beach for awhile, swam, wandered around the city, went back to Sosua, got on another bus, and rode 4 hours home. When we got back I went running with JP which was really nice and something I really needed after the amount of food I consumed this weekend.

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