It's a wide open road (full of bugs)
Remember that scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom where Kate Capshaw's ditsy nightclub singer is rushing around their jungle campsite being growled at by lizards and accidentally picking up bats? No? She comes rushing back to Indy and says, "This whole place is completely surrounded by living things!"
I'm starting to get that same feeling myself.
There aren't really any of these around. It's a sign on the fence that separates Palm Haven from the property next door. The owner was going to get some lions, but he must have changed his mind. A sign like this would make an excellent alternative to a monitored alarm, though, don't you think?
Yes, the bit behind the fence wire
reads "prosecuted or EATEN".
Most of what's surrounding us doesn't have teeth quite that big. Frogs, spiders, moths and a stunning range of supersized bugs - you name it, we've got it. There are a few types of frog here, though none are more than a handful. There are flat ones, little stripy green ones and a brown, toady one. The dogs and Gilgy the cat are all obsessed. Gilgy likes to chase them, but he knows better than to eat them. The dogs never learn and end up frothing at the mouth after one solid lick. It doesn't make them sick, as such, but a floor covered in cappucino de pooch isn't overly pleasant.
Gilgy seems to have been quite restrained with his hunting while we've been here. Probably because of the amount of steak and bacon he cadges from us at the table. Apparently last year he was forever bringing back rabbits from the veldt and taking them apart on the lawn. He'd just leave the ears and a few clumps of bunny fluff. Which does beg the question, what's wrong with rabbit ears? Bitter? Too chewy? Just not worth the effort?
The bugs are interesting, though. There are big black horned beetles; huge grasshoppers in various shades of acid; millipedes as long as a pen and thick as a finger; black-and-white bumblebees the size of Clinkers that wobble about, merrily oblivious to the fact that they shouldn't be able to fly.
Everything seems to creak or buzz or hum, especially in flight. There are a few types that make a noise that could pass for a small motorbike. The other night, I found something in the bathroom that could have been cockroach or cricket, but I couldn't work out which and couldn't be bothered opening the window to turf it. It woke me up an hour later with its singing, so I suppose it was either the rare Pavarotti roach or a particularly massive cricket. I think I'm one up on one of Bloke's workmates, though. One night last week, every time he opened the door to throw something out (frog, spider, moth the size of your hand), something else would fly/jump/scuttle in.
Here's one I prpeared earlier. It's quite small, I'm told.
And naturally, everything has made it its mission to bite you. The mozzies must be pretty bloody sturdy if one managed to bite me through denim. Twice. On the bum. Typical. I do like the name of the bug spray in our room, though. It's called Doom. And the Saffie Aerogard equivalent? Peaceful Sleep. I can't decide whether it sounds more like the bottle of stuff a vet keeps for putting down kittens or a less popular Soylent Green substitute, but it's the only one that really keeps the mozzies away. Hey, what's a little toluene between friends?
I don't think Peaceful Sleep works on snakes, though. I have yet to see one on this trip, but they're certainly around. Richard shot two cobras yesterday. One was only small - only about three feet long - but the other one was a good seven or eight feet. Cobras aren't the only type of snake around, of course. Don't forget the boa constrictors and black mambas. Everyone has a black mamba story to tell. They're particularly aggressive snakes and just a wee bit poisonous. My favourite mamba tale is the one where someone saw one stretched all the way across the road (did I mention they're quite big, too?) and ran over it. Quick as you like, it flicked up and struck at the closed passenger window. Handy hint for beginners: drive with your windows up.
Or just walk and don't worry about it. I went for a walk up the driveway yesterday, hoping to see the family of warthogs that has been lolling about in a wallow by the road. It was a nice stroll - just me, the thorn trees and a long red road.
Oh, and of course, the bugs. Don't forget the bugs. No warthogs to be found, unfortunately. They must have been pigging about elsewhere. I did see a dead chameleon, though. It had faded to a pallid green against the dust. I wonder whether that was its natural colour or whether it was the just last colour it had been before it dropped dead?
In other news, I have a new feather in my hat. Real, not metaphorical. It's a wing feather from a lilac-breasted roller, a very pretty bird with feathers in purple, blue and turquoise. It was actually my second attempt at a hat feather. I'd already seen one in the grass, striped brown and cream, and tucked it into the band. I saw Richard afterwards, spraying weeds, and stopped to chat. "By the way, what sort of feather is this?" I asked. "Oh, that? Um, chicken."
I think that makes me a loser.