Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mr Tabubil and Australia

Mr Tabubil really isn't liking the Australian fauna very much.  We have a few screened windows, but insects DO get in at night.   The mesh is a rather large weave, and the smaller ones come right through the screens.  I found him gibbering a week ago - terrified of the "horrible monster beetle" in the middle of the carpet.  It clocked in at one centimeter - including the feelers.  

Not long after he arrived in Australia, Mr Tabubil had a Moment. 
We were eating tea - far too late in the evening - and the light above our head started to strobe.  We looked up and there were a few winged things bouncing off the light housing.  A moment later, there were HUNDREDS - little winged ants that blundered into the light and onto the table and into our shirts and Mr Tabubil - Mr Tabubil very quietly lost his mental equilibrium.  In vain did I point out that they were 
a) sting-less
b) not mosquitoes
c) short lived
d) silent and 
e) not mosquitoes
(Mr Tabubil had not yet recovered from the mosquito bombardier four nights past.  His sensitive ear can detect a mosquito in the most rumbly and purr-y of electric motors.  Our air-con, our fridge and the generator from the squash courts down the street all apparently have wings and a sting.)

Looking out of the window, the halo from every streetlight was hazed and dancing with millions on millions of tiny bodies.  It was like the footage you see taken three miles down in the abyssal trenches - a rain of glowing, glittering particles.  It was a phenomenon.
It was a termite swarm - on the first hot day of summer, the winged ones take flight by the hundreds of million - harmless fliers that drop their wings and wriggle down your shirt and die promptly, and neither eat you nor settle in your house. 
This phenomenon of nature left the Canadian unmoved.
"Please let me go home to Canada now" he whimpered, staring out the window at the opaque night.

I have video footage of him vacuuming the poor termites out of the air.

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