Casa Jardin was beautiful but…..
Unfortunately it was more garden than house;wonderful if the many species of winged insects kept to themselves but they didn’t and we were eaten alive for two full days. The garden was full of flies; huge numbers of tiny biting insects and we’re talking plague proportions here.Biblical stuff!
Angry red bites appeared all over our bodies, sore itchy lumps that worsened with heat and sweat. We were especially worried about Darragh whose skin reacted badly to the bites, breaking out in allergic-like swellings.
It worried us like hell and sent us scurrying to the Web. Trawling sites like the US Centre for Disease Control and studying all the maps of Malaria, Dengue and Zika . We had passed through lots of Zika-infected countries without any reaction so while the disease has terrible effects, we had already faced those fears.But Malaria or Dengue terrified us.
We fought back ,covering up at dusk and dawn and spraying ourselves head to foot but it wasn’t working.So we went to La Colonia supermarket and bought every conceivable type of insect repellent. Lavender coils, perfumed candles, heavy duty jungle formula,natural products containing citronella, No Pickex soaps. You name it we bought it, but still the critters got us.
Casa Jardin was more like camping than indoor living and there were more than the mosquitoes and midges to cope with.
The owner had left a hand-written manual about the house which catalogued the different birds, butterflies and bats we would encounter. In artistic cursive script she left cheery advice like
‘The toads are our friends!’ and ‘I hope the bat droppings don’t bother you. Be kind to the bats , remember they eat mosquitoes. If you don’t like them in your bedroom, keep the doors closed during the day.’
It was so incredibly hot too. Thirty eight degrees by day, cooling to a grill-like thirty one degrees by night. There was no airconditioning but each bedroom had a big helicopter-like fan that moved the hot air around. Deafening but it gave some relief.
On our second night , I heard a thud and a small leathery creature landed onto my chest. I swiped it off with a scream and jumped up, fumbling panic stricken for the light.
‘What is it ? What is it ?’Nan howled hysterically and when I told her a bat landed on me that was the final straw for Casa Jardin. We had to get out.
In retrospect, I wondered what kind of a bat would crash into a moving propellor above my bed so asked our resident bat expert , Darragh. Our young chiropterologist, so knowledgeable after his tour of the bat jungle in Costa Rica, pointed out that there were three types of bats in Nicaragua. White bats, wrinkled faced bats and common vampire bats. But none dumb enough to fly into a fan, he added nonchalantly.
Ok so maybe it was a gecko! Who knows but between the bites and the falling wildlife, we were out of there.
We pleaded our case to the estate agents and showed them our bites. They explained that there was probably an infestation of chayules or midges which come from the lake. Non-malaria and non-dengue carrying they assured us.
They offered to fumigate the house but we had enough of our garden home so they decently changed our lease, moving us to Apartamentos Sofia, half a block from Iglesia La Mereced and far from the lake and chayules.
Our Nicaraguan Living experience was over before it had even begun.