This is a post about BUGS and BEES. The little guy above is more of a mix between a hummingbird, a bee, and a butterfly. He does not seem that menacing, but this is the only bee-like picture I have yet.
Today the unthinkable happened! Somehow a bee, or some other stinging Southeast Asian monster bug, flew into the finger whole of my gas hand while I was speeding around a curve! Surprised, I’m sure, the hapless bee proceeded to sting the ever loving shit out of my finger. I pulled over and tore off the glove as fast as I could without dumping my bike. But, hot sauce, if that is not an unexpected little shot of adrenaline! Needless to say, for the rest of the ride, every small itch vibrated my overstrung nerves with a staccato, “bee sting alarm, bee sting alarm!”
Though most insects do not make it to the inner sanctums of my tender flesh while riding, their sting is not the only concern. Even with long clothing, some of these bugs are so huge that they literally feel like a punch at 80km/h. A four inch hard backed flying beetle can seriously knock the wind out of you when slamming into the chest … or throat in my case. Even butterflies will ding off your helmet like a large pebble.
Then there are the cute fuzzy little tiny caterpillars that like to dangle over roads and paths on an invisible thread. THEY have some sort of oil covering all of their little hairs that instantly gives you a serious rash. My first day of riding one of these pinky nail sized critters must have dropped itself down the back of my collar. The next day I had what looked like 60 little zits all over the back of my neck. The blisters persisted for over a week and now over a month and a half later I can still feel the light spattering of scabs that replaced them. Fun with insects. Can’t fight them, just need to give them their space.
The truth of that was never so evident as last night when the only stairway to our room was apparently being guarded by a ferocious six inch green thing that looked like a praying mantis. Naturally, I addressed him in conversation as I approached.
Letting him know that he was indeed a big ol bug and I wanted no beef with the likes of him. Like so many other recent encounters, I soon realized how completely culturally unaware I was. Of course he did not understand English, this is Laos for God sakes. The servers have a hard time figuring out what I want even if I’m pointing at an item on the menu!
The big green mother (BGM) slowly turned his insidiously triangular head toward me with bowel loosening deliberateness. I hoped we had come to an understanding and slowly proceeded to move up the stairs. Big mistake. At a critical off balance moment, BGM, who had moved less than an 8th of an inch the entire time, launches himself at my eyes like a green flash. I scream, stagger backwards and almost fall down the stairs. It was so unexpected. I look back down at the stairs and there he is, poised in the exact same stance five inches to the left of his previous location now slowly twisting his head to look at me with all his bulging eyes. Before I regain enough balance to back down the stairs, he is in the air again darting right for my eyeballs. F that. I went back to the bar, got another Beerlao, and waited for him to vacate the area.