Monday, July 04, 2005

it would have been funny if I hadn´t been screaming

Good news! So far I´m still alive!

It has been wonderful seeing Josh again. As I was going through customs and waiting for my bags, I was having a hard time breathing through the anticipation. I kept tearing up just at the thought! And we are having a fantastic time so far.

I arrived on Saturday afternoon and after spending the night in San Jose, we headed up to the Tabacon Hot Springs and Arenal Volcano, where we are staying at a lovely resort with little hut like rooms. Very fun and authentic! Plus the added bonus of the Internet! Technology is a beautiful thing, and because of it, I get to tell you this lovely story.

On the drive up here I saw a snake in the road, several quite large bugs, and a monster toad. It has definitely felt like the jungle, and when we arrived at our little hut, I was wary of what might be inside. So I made Josh check for centipedes, snakes, scorpions or anything that might be hiding in corners or under the bed. I even inspected the outside and besides moths bigger than my hand, we seemed to be safe.

After a full day of sightseeing and lounging in the hot springs (hard life, I know), we came back to the room and I threw myself down on the bed to watch some television. About 30 minutes later, I saw a movement out of the corner of my eye, and crawling up the curtain in the room was a MUTANT ANT. Not a normal ant, but an ant the size of my index finger. I screamed for Josh to come out of the bathroom and pointed out the mutant that he would have to kill. Josh took one look at it, and decided that he needed reinforcements. He went into the bathroom and came back with a towel. At that point, I chuckled and asked if he really needed a towel. I mean, it was an ant, toilet paper would have been enough, right? He looked at the ant, looked at me, and said "nope, I'm sticking with the towel".

Approaching the beast cautiously, he grabbed it with said towel and proceeded to smoosh it with his fist.

And that is when the ant BIT HIM THROUGH THE TOWEL.

Let me repeat that for you. That ant, bit him hard enough to draw BLOOD through the towel.

Josh screamed and threw the ant, plus the towel down onto the ground and proceeded to jump up and down and onto the bed while cursing loudly. At first I thought he was kidding, until he showed me the blood. Now the apparently vicious ant is on the floor under a towel, and we´re assuming its dead. But given the fact that we don´t know whether this bug is poisonous or not, I told Josh we should bring it with us to the front desk and ask. So I pull out a big ziploc bag and, being the kind and animal friendly people that we are, we stomped up and down on him several times, before putting him into the ziploc bag with the towel and going to the front desk.

Josh was still cursing and insisting that his hand was killing him, so we ran to the front desk, or front office across the grounds. We must have been quite a sight, what with the screaming man and the woman carrying a ziploc bag with a towel inside. I recounted our tale to the clerk and he opened the bag to check it out.

Folks, that fucker was still alive and dancing around in the bag.

Turns out it was a bullet ant and the clerk assured us that the bites were very painful, but that Josh probably wouldn´t die. Although another friendly clerk told us that two bites would have sent us to the hospital. Geee, thanks.

After an anesthetic spray, some advil and a bandage, Josh seemed like he would make it. The clerks enjoyed it too, and showed the bullet ant to the other guests lounging around, amidst much squeals and screams. Seriously, it was huge.

And then? He let it go. Because they are an 'ecological society' and don't kill bugs. So this is a warning to all of you, that ant is still on the loose in Costa Rica and he is bloodthirsty.

Today I looked up the bullet ant and found this description:
The venom is neurotoxic, blocks insect central nervous system transmission,
and is agonistic to mammalian smooth muscle. Paraponera is not aggressive
except when defending self or territory. When their nest is disturbed,
defenders swarm out, release a heavy musky odor, stridulate an audible
warning, then grab and impale intruders. Human Sting Reactions: Sting
victims' have intense pain typically lasts 3-5 hours then lessens over the
next day. Severe pain may be accompanied by trembling, perspiration, nausea,
and inability to use an injured arm or leg.

Fabulous, no? But as we were walking back to our hut, I turned to Josh and said, "But at least it'll make a great blog entry!" I'm not sure he appreciated that.


Phantom Scribbler said...


I am so never going to Costa Rica. Josh is a prince among men!

Ninotchka said...

Poor Josh! Hope he's feeling better. Enjoy the rest of your vacation!

YG&B said...

fabulous! wonderful! i am dying laughing! the man and i just finished watching a show on killer ants!!! hee hee. have you read poisonwood bible? don't! ha ha ha ha ha....

Angry Pregnant Lawyer said...

The image of the both of you jumping up and down on the towel has me laughing, but please relay my sympathies to Josh. That sounds just horrible... and I would've been screaming my head off, too!

Rana said...


Just looking at the picture of that giant ant -- ON A PERSON'S ARM -- gives me the willies. Yikes!

Chris said...

OMG!!! Yuck! I hope the rest of your vacation is bug, reptile and rodent free! LOL

jiri said...

Hey, I have enjoyed...your blog is informative - even entertaining.

I have a halloween sites. They pretty much covers costumes and masks related stuff.

Thanks again and I'll be sure to bookmark you.

J*U*N*E said...

Nice! At least you can say that Josh has been bitten by the No# 1, most painful species of ant there is is. I've known about bullet ants for a minute. If you really want to fear an insect, i SERIOUSLY and STRONGLY suggest you look into the "LETHOCERUS" nicknamed "The Toe-Biter".