29 November 2007

Bad Smells

You can look at photos of a place like Mer and say, "Wow! That is so beautiful!"

And it is. I think it must be one of the most beautiful places on the planet.

But you can't smell the smells with a photo! (Well, actually, if you pick up one of our actual photos that has been on the island and sniff it closely you will detect the faint odor of mould ... but only slightly.)

It's a very alive place. It's crawling and swimming with all kinds of creatures. And it's hot, and moist. Getting into bed - imagine sliding into a bowl of warm porridge ... and being too tired to care. So you turn you face into the pillow and gulp the familiar mildew odour as you drift off into fitful sleep despite the sound of drums and feasting down the village aways.

After we got fly screens put into our windows there were less flies in the house, and the little brown beetles stopped trying to live in the back of the cassette player, and the big grasshoppers no longer flung themselves from wall-to-wall (and into the custard) in the narrow kitchen.

In that climate we did most of our living outside. We had a table under one of our huge mango trees and that was where we greeted guests, and had meals, and did our translating and studying mostly.

At one time we noticed that we had a fly problem at our outside table. It was quite obvious why - there was a strong odour of something that had died, and the flies were in search of the body.

We went looking for it too.

This is what we found. Like something from another planet. We appreciated that this chap had the best of intentions - it was attracting the flies so it could eat them, and rid us all of flies. But not in our backyard, mate! It had to go.

It was only shortly after that that a botanist wandered through the village - happens from time to time - asking if we'd seen anything unusual. Naturally he was a little upset to learn of the demise of our alien friend.

It's okay for him, he didn't have to live with it. Ugh!