So, the “wet” season has finally arrived here on the coast of Ecuador. I think it started a couple of weeks ago. It kinda’ snuck up on us. We were sitting in the living room one evening and I heard water dripping from somewhere outdoors. I stepped onto the terrace to see a light, misting rain falling with droplets collecting and falling from the roof edge. I was expecting more “wet”. Last year, I’m told, it rained a lot with some mud slides, crops damaged, etc. Nothing good about that much rain for sure.
The rain we’re experiencing is soft and gentle, sometimes a mist… like is often generated over the produce in modern stateside supermarkets. Other times, actual rain drops fall but so far, nothing like the gully washers I’ve seen in the Midwest or Florida; just gentle and soft.
The rain falls mostly at night but does, sometimes, continue through the morning and rarely into the afternoon. My 30 year-old Daihatsu Wrangler Rocky (It’s a Jeepy thing) doesn’t have intermittent wipers and allowing them to run on the lowest speed is overkill. So, I wind up manually turning them on and off to clear the windshield as needed.
Since we arrived on the coast of Ecuador last June, we hadn’t had any rain at all. The landscape had become dusty and brown and everything needed a bath, big time!! Clouds of dust would roll up from unimproved roads as we drove, settling on everything. Finally now, the plants and trees seem a bit refreshed and there is a sense of clean that is beginning to permeate the land.
Yesterday morning, I took Carmine for his morning walk up the hill toward the cliff behind our enclave. It was misting a bit. As I started the uphill climb, my feet slipped and slid on the mud as if it was grease, my shoes leaving slide marks with each effort toward a step. Wow! After a few minutes of trying to pick my way up the hillside, I surrendered. The mud was too slippery. Carmine did fine but he’s got 4-wheel drive and claws! It reminded me a bit of the reddish Georgia clay I encountered many years ago as a kid. We called it “snot mud”.
I carefully picked my way back down the hill so as not to slide and roll in the mud, grateful to be at the bottom again. I mentally logged this experience so as to be very careful driving on hilly, muddy surfaces. Even with 4 wheel drive, I could envision sliding and slipping out of control on this stuff!
In addition to giving the earth a bath, the other thing the rain has done was to release a new batch of critters that, apparently, had been patiently waiting for this. Frogs!! Tens of thousands, perhaps millions of them. Driving from our place to Canoa along the Ruta del Sol creates an unavoidable massacre as these hoppy little critters congregate on the road, presumably to absorb the retained heat. They are unavoidable as the cars and trucks drive over and flatten their little froggy, bodies. I try not to think about it.
Next are the bugs! Yep…bugs! Where the hell have these guys been? For some 7 months, we’ve had outdoor lights illuminating the front door area and also sometimes on the terrace. Hardly any bugs were drawn to the lights at all. Then, suddenly, there they were. We came home from Manta one night last week after a day of shopping. It was after dark. Diane made it to the door first and came back down to the car.
“I don’t know what’s going on but there are hundreds of bugs near the front door.”
She was right! Mostly, they were smallish beetle-looking things that flew. June bugs, in January. They are everywhere now, both in and out of the house. They apparently have a very short lifespan. Somehow, they find their way inside and simply die on our tile floors. Carmine was curious about them at first but now, like us, they are no big deal. By the way, I’ve installed yellow bulbs in the outdoor lights and the bugs no longer congregate in mass. They do get into the house despite our best efforts.
From time to time, when one of them decides to take flight for the last time before dying, and if they happen to do that in the direction of the Pocket Babe, she will have a momentary reaction that usually combines a reflexive, violent body movement like an air-slap and foot kick…sometimes fanning the air with both hands while shaking her head quickly followed by a Tourette’s-like vocalization of some sort. Then there will be an exaggerated shiver and a thorough checking of her hair. She then goes back to whatever she was doing as if it never happened. Oh….IT HAPPENED! God, I would love to capture one of those episodes on film!!!
Anyway, the bugs really don’t harm anything. They don’t bite or sting and have no interest in us at all. The only problem is that their crunchy little bodies do tend to pile up. At first, we were vigilant about cleaning them up. We’d see one and we’d scoop it right up. Now, just because of the sheer volume, we keep a broom handy and just periodically sweep them into a pile, picking them up with the dustpan when the body count reaches 15-20. I’m not sure how long these guys will be hanging around and I don’t know what comes next. We’ve noticed only a few mosquitoes around…nothing serious. BUT…we are living in a coastal region, in South America so whatever it is…we’ll not be surprised.
We’re glad for the rain. Diane even played tennis in it yesterday. Life is to be lived in all circumstances; full throttle of half throttle or at whatever speed you can manage. Anyway, that’s how I see it.
I can’t think of one thing to complain about and I’m grateful that the Great Ecuadorian Retirement Adventure continues!
Time to sweep up my first pile of June bugs for the day. I have no idea how they are getting in here!