August 26, 2009

Plagued in Santa Rosalia

Esperando is traveling—he was in Vancouver last week, the Bay Area this week, then back home on Friday. Life is not dull though, no sir. When he is gone, that is when we like to have the unusual crises arise. It’s much more fun when I get to solve problems all on my own (I wonder if this is why I’ve had a nervous tic in my eye ever since he left town?)

Last week one of the maids came to me and said, “Senora, there are beetles in the bodega.” As proof she brought me this dead little bug that was about ¼-inch long and black. It didn’t look too terrifying. She didn’t act as excited as I did when I saw them all. All the bags of beans in the bodega were infected with these horrid little beetles which were chewing their way out of their bags and flying around the bodega and laundry room crawling up the walls, and biting the maids when they tried to clean them up. We’re talking hundreds of the little suckers, what they call a plaga (plague) down here. I always wondered about plagas when you read about them in the Bible they sort of make your skin crawl and we do get them in the USA, but they seem much more in-your-face down here. Apparently one of the girls in the office downtown got a good price on bags of beans a month ago or so at some local discount grocery store and purchased a bunch for the guesthouse, so we had about 8 or 9 one-pound bags of beans stacked in the storeroom, hatching out simultaneously before our very eyes.

I tried spraying them with some insecticide we had, but it had no effect on them, they continued milling around in circles on the shelves, spreading around the room and flying into the laundry area. I raced to the kitchen and called Esperando’s secretary.

“Quick, we need Fumigator Man! There are beetles hatching out all over the bodega.” I said with great passion.

“When do you want him there,” she asked.

“Immediately!” I said, “This an emergency.”

“Ok, but when do you want him to come?” She asked.

“As soon as he can,” I responded, wondering what about ‘emergency’ and ‘immediately’ did not indicate that he should come as fast as he could.

“Ok, but when, well, ok, it’s urgent, I will call and see when he can come.” Said she, ‘Thank God,’ I thought, ‘I finally got through to her.’

So we cleared shelves and shelves of food out of the bodega, threw the bags of beans away, and got Fumigator Man in at noon. According to him he had already been over to that same store that the beans were purchased from sometime before, spraying it for the same bugs. They were not so common a pest that he sees here, so he put 2+2 together about where the beans were purchased. It’s kind of cool having a Fumigator Man that knows all the hot gossip about whose got plagas and stuff. I guess he is not bound by any code of ethics not to reveal these things, as say a doctor might be. He told us never to buy beans, rice or sugar at that store. I don’t know why we even shopped there in the first place, I always think we are going to the better grocery stores so I was appalled to find out the control of food in the house has slipped between my fingers. (Well I was gone for 3 months, so it is hard to control things when you are gone—and I probably would have been happy for those beans being a good deal, not knowing what I know now about them.) The girls told me after Fumigator Man left that this was a bad store, so I guess everyone else in town must know this. Why did we buy beans there in the first place if everyone knows this?

After he sprayed the house (it was Friday noon), I sent the maids and the cook home. The fumes were overpowering and reached almost to my bedroom and made one of the cats throw up. Saturday it still smelled strongly so the girls didn’t come then either. Fumigator Man said not to clean the laundry room until Monday. That meant I paid two days of wages for no employees, plus the cost of fumigating, plus the cost of taking all the food off the shelves and then putting it all back again. Kind an expensive price for rotten beans, huh?

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