Around the World in 80 Days: Day 3, Mosquitoes

I’m not a huge nature fan.  I mean, in theory nature is great and all, considering that I exist because of it, but… I really don’t like getting nature on me.  Today I find myself right smack in the middle of nature, and if I may be frank: this place is fucking gorgeous.  Mind you, I just got here yesterday and I’ve been inside 98% of the time, but I can see actual nature outside of my window!

Here’s a satellite pic of where I am exactly:

And here’s what I see this morning outside of my window at 4:30AM:

For a little backstory on my pending tale, Ryder and I like to sit in our backyard occasionally and have a beer, grill, and eat dinner.  Sitting there, breathing the fresh air and watching the fireflies lazily signal us on a mild evening is relaxing… until I see the first mosquito.  Ryder could be telling me something about how much he loves me because I’ve made his life so easy and wonderful and how he can’t imagine a world without me in it… but if I see one of those suckers I will cut him off mid-sentence with a, “Welp, it was nice while it lasted,” and head promptly inside to play video games.  Now, the effects of this are that Ryder has completely stopped expressing his love for me, but on the other hand it is extremely rare that I get a mosquito bite.  I’d say that’s a good trade-off.

Japan has something called tiger mosquitoes.

By James Gathany - This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #1969.Note: Not all PHIL images are public domain; be sure to check copyright status and credit authors and content providers.English | Slovenščina | +/−transferred to jpg from original tif at http://phil.cdc.gov/PHIL_Images/08152002/00003/A.albopictus_jg_091501_004d.tif, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1860142

Japan also has something called Japanese encephalitis transmitted by said mosquitoes.  If you’re not lucky enough to die from it, you get to live a wretched life bound to a wheelchair with disfigurement and seizures.  When I looked up what kind of shots I needed for this trip, that shot was recommended.  Asked my doctor and he said yep.  Fine.  Had to call around to find out where I could get the shot and found that it would involve a 45 minute drive to the Dallas county health department.  I didn’t wanna go.  I procrastinated.  Finally I thought, “Hmmm… I wonder how much this shot costs?”
Are you sitting down?…
Sit down…
THREE HUNDRED AND THIRTY FIVE DOLLARS… TWICE.
Now I really didn’t wanna go.

Time to research.  Over a significant number of years, 30 or so, the number of travelers to Japan who contracted it is insignificant.  You are more likely to see a picture of me crying (see Day 1, Fluids) than you are of getting this disease in Japan.  Did I come to the logical conclusion that I don’t need this effing shot?  No.  NO.  Why?  Because now I know this disease exists and that there’s a slight chance I would get it.  This would mean that every goddamn time I got bitten by a mosquito my brain would repeat this delightful mantra:  (breathe in) “I’ve got it now.” (breathe out) “I’m dying.”  I’d basically repeat this phrase until I willed Japanese encephalitis into my body.

You know what I angrily paid $670 for?  Peace of mind.  But, with that I’ve decided that to get my money’s worth I’ll need no less than 3,499 mosquito bites.  I imagine that I’d look like a giant, swollen, fleshy cauliflower with arms and legs sticking out.  I’ve illustrated this for you. You’re welcome.

In truth, I haven’t even seen a mosquito yet, but last night one of the locals suited up, I kid you not, in something I can only describe as a hazmat suit to go check on her chickens.  It’s 6AM now and I’m about to walk to a 7-11 for breakfast and coffee.  I’m not certain that I won’t get bitten, but I can tell you with $670 worth of confidence that I’m not getting Japanese encephalitis.

Love,
~S

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