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Posts Tagged ‘island life’

House, n.  A hollow edifice erected for the habitation of human, rat, mouse, beetle, cockroach, fly, mosquito, flea, bacillus, and microbe.  ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

Life is all around!

Life is all around!

Ah … tropical island life! So green and lush and moist and warm, so full of life.

Unlike other parts of Africa we have no giraffes loping gracefully over open plains, nor do we have open plains. You won’t find lions lounging in prides in the shade under acacias, even though we do have acacias. The huge saltwater crocodiles that once inhabited this island have been extinct for two centuries, so the only predator species filling the top spot is Homo sapiens and we’re far from indigenous.

Still, everywhere your eye might rest there are critters, some of which are autochthonous like our fruit bats that have become their own unique version of chiroptera. The list of endemic reptiles includes thirteen types of lizard, two snake species, and of course the Aldabra Giant Tortoise, which visitors are far more likely to see than either our wolf snake or house snake. (In my twenty-plus years here I have seen ONE live snake. A few dead ones, unfortunately, since although the animals are completely harmless and could, if allowed, take a toll on the rat population, Seychellois are terribly ophiophobic.)

Every house has geckos; entertaining little critters that chirp like birds and scamper over seemingly impossible surfaces as they

Sweet little baby gecko!

Sweet little baby gecko!

munch on bugs. Tourists not accustomed to sharing space with lizards sometimes freak out and no few have alerted hotel staff to the “baby crocodiles on the ceiling” … really.

Birds are everywhere: mynas, fodies, doves, blue pigeons, bulbuls and such are common and spend time on verandas. Beautiful kestrels are rarer, but can be seen if you’re lucky.

A myna likes to bathe in the dogs' water bowl.

A myna likes to bathe in the dogs’ water bowl.

Sea birds are less common on Mahé, but legion on some of the islands. A trip to Bird Island delivers just what the name promises with over 700,000 pairs of sooty terns nesting. (For diehard birders … “another phenomena especially in October to December, arises from the geographical location of Bird Island on the northern edge of the Seychelles Bank. This means it is the first landfall for migratory Euarasian birds …” )

And like everywhere else in the world, we have a lot of bugs.

It is estimated that at any given moment, Earth is home to a billion billion insects. Spread out evenly over the land surface, this would be nearly 8,000 insects per square meter!

Yep. Creepy crawlies abound, although if you try to learn what’s here through Wikipedia you’ll come up short. Some, like bees, are helpful. Some (centipedes come to mind) are horrible. Spiders the size of a kid’s hand aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. We have ants that are yellow and crazy, mean sand flies and … sigh … mosquitos. Not the type that vector malaria, thankfully, but bite and itch and can transmit dengue fever, a miserable illness I can personally attest to the misery of … twice. I’m so not a fan of these asshole insects that global eradication would be just fine with me. And I’m not alone in this …

“it’s difficult to see what the downside would be to removal, except for collateral damage”, says insect ecologist Steven Juliano, of Illinois State University.

Fun with a Rhinoceros Beetle.

Fun with a Rhinoceros Beetle.

On the bug front, however, we also have a very cool Rhinoceros Beetle, and since coconut plantations no longer support the country I’m okay with them. They’re big enough to be considered more like a dog than a bug, as is evidenced by their presence in the pet trade. Thankfully I get to play with them for free.

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Yep. I’m still here. Back-in-the-saddle

I won’t lie; it’s not been an easy few years, but I continue to survive. The process of reading back over old posts has brought back much of the journey I’ve been wandering and I have to admit I’m glad I wrote at least a bit about some of the shit-filled puddles I’ve slogged through. It serves to remind me that I can … survive, that is … and to appreciate the far clearer, far cleaner path I now tread.

Gone are the dregs of ex-husbands, Latino musicians and other unpleasant tastes that lingered. Old friends are still with me and wonderful new people are now enriching my life in unexpected ways.

To catch you up a bit, I’m fine. The kids are great and much bigger than they used to be. They continue to be wonderful, smart, funny, kind, caring and gorgeous and I continue to be blessed by the gift that is them.

I have been working, but most of the writing done has been for other people with the wisdom to understand their own lack of skill … and for dosh, of course. Social media management has kept me busy and up-to-date on many things I might have otherwise missed, and two new clients are such a joy to work with that I may never stop.

As some may know, I had another radio gig. It was a hoot and I enjoyed the people I worked with, but the station could only afford me for a while.

And, yes, I am still in Seychelles.

The country has changed a lot over the years. There are now real supermarkets and more than one traffic light, but still no fast food franchises, thankfully. The Internet is faster and more reliable, but expensive and still nowhere near ‘real world’ speed. There are more hotels and ginormous houses, more private jets flying in, more humongous yachts. Heroin is taking a toll on those too stupid to understand its consequences, so crime is up. Almost everyone has a smart phone and most houses are hooked up to sat TV. In other words, like just about everywhere else in the world.

In the wider world adoption has become less an option for children in many countries. As the rich get richer Pearl S. Buck’s account of the effects of that become ever more worrying. The USA has apparently become the country of the greedy and the stupid, the world’s religions are getting progressively more desperate and middle ground seems to be vanishing on all fronts.

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