Oh, the insects here. Buzzing and creeping and crawling and biting, you can never escape them. They are really something else. Ellen and I have agreed to keep a positive attitude about our trip; after all, we chose to give up our homes and jobs and leave friends and family behind to take it. I don’t want our blog to become a bitch-fest about the different and unexpected things we find on this trip. However, I would like to make a few observations about the insects here.

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Not sure what kind of spider this is, but I like its mandibles of death.

Mosquitoes are supposed to be the big worry here – malaria isn’t so common in this neck of the woods, but according to a mural in the bathroom of the restaurant near the bus station in the nearest town two hours away, dengue fever is an issue. However, we haven’t been bitten too often by the mosquitoes. They buzz around our heads occasionally, and I have about a dozen bites, but they don’t bother me too much. The biting flies, however, make my legs swell up and barely fit in my socks and boots. Each bite causes a red lump with about a five to seven centimeter radius (that’s two to three inches for you Yankees), and my calves and thighs have been bitten extensively. Note to future travellers – bring hardcore anti-allergy pills. Afterbite doesn’t cut it. The ants, too, like to take a chunk out of you when they get the chance. I accidentally reached my hand into an ants’ nest while I was making mulch, and about 35 ants climbed up my arm and left red, swollen, blistery bites all along my forearm. The big ants don’t seem to be as vicious, although another volunteer told us about being bitten by a bullet ant in the jungle and not being able to walk for a few days. But the insects, as irritating as my skin finds them, are also fascinating. I saw a beautiful orange and blue flying insect this morning, and an iridescent gold and green beetle yesterday. Ellen and I are sure to point out interesting spiders to each other, and we love finding rows of ants marching to and fro across the footpaths – as long as they aren’t climbing our legs.

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Check out the zig-zaggy web!

Yes, if you like observing insects, Costa Rica has all kinds of neat things to show you. Just don’t expect your skin to be unblemished while you’re here.

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