Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Air Raid

So, we live in a town that is a mix of agricultural and city life.  Not but three blocks away is an expanse of rice-fields (that incidentally have nice paths for a good jog in the morning).  With the rice fields comes rice, obviously, and mosquitos.  Lots and lots of mosquitos.  

I react strongly to things.  I cry at Disney movies, jump at a crack of thunder, and when I get bitten by a little bloodsucker I swell to twice my size.  No kidding.  I despise the suckers so much I have an ugly, army-green mosquito net hanging over my pretty red and gold decorated bed.  Clashing be damned - get those bugs away from me.

Apparently Korea hates mosquitos too.  But instead of nets and a finely honed ability to clap they go the aggressive route: Bombs.

In the heat of a Korean summer where temperatures reach 35 C with 100% humidity those who do not use air conditioners throw open the windows as far as they can go and wander around naked drinking iced-tea and eating ice cream.  And all seems well.  You're sweaty and tired but the occasional breeze blows in bringing with it smells of the vegetable man and the kimchi pots across the way.  

Then around dusk we hear it.  A loud roaring slowly plodding its way closer to our home.  Hit the deck!  All of a sudden we jump up and run to the windows throwing them shut.  We run as fast as possible from the bedroom to the glass doors of the balcony.  Tripping over cats to reach the window in the laundry room on the far side of the building.  If we're lucky everything is shut tight before the dreaded roar comes right under us.  

What is it?  A big, old truck bombing the entire neighborhood in anti-mosquito stuff.  I'm not sure what the stuff is but this being Korea I'm fairly certain it's the kind of poison that not only kills small bugs but your household pets, possibly large farm animals.  I was once unlucky enough to be caught in the billowing white cloud of yuckiness while walking and I'm uncertain as to my ability to bare children anymore.  

So when the poison truck rolls around we do our best to keep from breathing it in.  It means running around the house like a chicken with her head cut off and sitting in sweltering heat for about an hour but at least I keep my cilia a little while longer.

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