Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Tarantula/Cockroach Dance

With the tropical weather, I've been pushing myself to drink massive amounts of water. But with that comes many trips to the outhouse...including at night. I have learned to be prepared for those nighttime jaunts both physically and mentally. As the air cools considerably in the evening, apparently all the tarantulas are attracted to the warm little outhouse sitting out there in the field.

So when the need is too great to ignore, I creak out of my cot, grab my trusty headlamp and slide my way precariously on the mud trail to the outhouse. First comes the outside inspection where I walk around the building and check for potential intrudors. Usually there's a big hairy tarantula or two hanging out on the walls. I mentally file away their locations and expected amount of time they would take to reach an entry point. Then I slowly open the door and start scanning from the top down because having a tarantula jump down on me is more disturbing than one along the ground in reach to step on if needed. Last time I arrived at the outhouse, I found 6 furry bodies with 12 beady eyes flashing back at me.The problem is that they don't conveniently congregate in one spot. While staking out their own private real estate, it makes four directions for me to monitor.

The other creature I keep an eye out for are the cockroaches. It might be disgusting to mention, but there are hundreds of cockroaches hanging out in all the glory down the hole. But when few humans are frequenting the building and nighttime arises, the bravest of the cockroaches come scurrying out of the hole to explore the surroundings.

Thus begins the dance. It is quite a workout to be squatting up over the hole, constantly turning my head to check on all the tarantulas who freeze in the light, and then be jumping my feet up and down to dodge the myriad of cockroaches going crazy as the light shines on them trying to run back to the hole. It's like practicing Capoiera, the Brazilian fight dance that Jeremy is teaching us. I guess the positive part of the experience is the extent to which it exhausts me to go back to bed.

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