Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Me so itchy

I am SO itchy. It seems I WAS getting bitten by mosquitoes, I just wasn’t reacting to the bites. Until now. The night before last, the bites suddenly became red swollen itchy welts that I cannot resist scratching. Swee’pea’s bites have also gone from small red dots to large red bumps – ALL OVER. People stop us on the street to ask about his horrible red bumps and to offer advice.

Yesterday morning, Grandpa Cape Town took me to a pharmacy to see what we could do for Swee’pea. But because he’s under a year, we can only use Calamine lotion without seeing a doctor. I have never actually used Calamine lotion before – I’ve never been so unlucky as to need it – but I can tell you now, it is NOT cutting it. I’m pretty sure Swee’pea doesn’t need to see a doctor, but since he’s only a coule of weeks from his first birthday, I think I’m going to get the ointment, at least for myself anyways.

What strikes me as funny about all this mosquito business is that several South Africans have asked me about the horrible nasty Canadian mosquitoes and other insects they’ve heard about. It seems Canada has a reputation for two things: mosquitoes (which are bigger than the ones here but mostly kept out of our houses with those lovely things called screens), and a welfare system so good nobody needs to beg (which I have set people straight on – is there any such thing as a welfare system like that?).

After we went to the pharmacy, Grandpa Cape Town said he wanted a coffee. I wondered if maybe he wanted to talk me alone about something. After ordering, and then going to the loo, he finally broached the subject that I thought he might want to. I won’t go into details, because I’m quite sure both he and Sugar Daddy would be upset by that, but the conversation left me feeling sad for the little boy Sugar Daddy once was. The sadness hung around me like a heavy necklace for hours, and I made sure to give him lots of hugs when we got back.

After lunch, we took Swee’pea to the aquarium down at the waterfront. It was another scorcher, and we figured the air conditioning would be a good thing, plus Swee’pea loves fish in fish tanks. He had a great time, swivelling his head left and right between the various fishes, eels and crabs, and the lights and exit signs. We wandered around the waterfront, which at 4:30 and 5 was still uncomfortably hot, and watched three different bands busking. I figure they must audition with some waterfront tourism organization because they were all so different. There was one kind of jazzy band with an accordion, banjo and saxophone, another playing big wooden xylophones, and a third choral men’s group very like Ladysmith Black Mambazo, with the stepping and kicking and harmonizing.

I have taken something like 7 or 800 photos. We’ve burnt them onto two cds but we have another full cd that for some reason just won’t burn. I’m hoping to get that sorted out before we fly to Joburg this afternoon. I’d like to have clean memory cards for the trip. I’m quite nervous about this flight, because it could be on a small plane, and last time we flew domestically here the flight was very turbulent from all the summer storms around Joburg, and the plane swerved left and right to try to avoid them. Flying here though is incredibly cheap, the cheapest way to travel, as well as the fastest, so it was a no-brainer that I will just have to try to cope with the scary flight.

We are having a good time, but perhaps not as exciting as last time. We’d been planning to come back for the World Cup in 2010 but now, for various reasons, Sugar Daddy and I are on the same page reconsidering those plans. Regardless of what we decide, it’s nice that our thoughts and feelings are pretty much in total agreement about our experiences this time.
I have been meaning to write about the hairy intersections here. You probably know that people drive on the other side of the road here (from Canada – the left side), and I’m still not really used to it. Intersections no longer make any sense to me because the cars never go where I expect them to. We have to be super cautious crossing the street on foot because our instincts of which way to look for traffic are all wrong. Now, as I approach a crossing, I repeat to myself “Look right THEN left, right then left…” I remember last time we got used to this fairly quickly, but when we returned to Canada we had to readjust all over, being supercautious about crossing streets and driving again. The intersections are also full of people on foot trying to sell just about anything, or mothers with their babies on their backs, begging. (Sugar Daddy’s stepmom cynically wondered if perhaps they hire them for a better return.) When the lights turn red, they stream out to the cars stopped hawking their wares or holding up their signs with their sad stories. I’ve seen vendors at intersections selling newspapers, black garbage bags, clear plastic rolls, sunglasses, beaded wire flower sculptures. I admire their entrepeneurial spirit.

So… off to Joburg now, that huge heaving metropolis with crazy traffic and apparently the highest incidence of road rage in the country as the news reported yesterday. Perhaps there I will be able to find a good internet connection and some time to upload some photos, perhaps not. Hope you’re all well and staying warm.


banana said...

I reacted horribly to mosquito bites in Brazil, though I don't find them as bad over here - I think we build up a bit of an immunity to the reaction by living here - A south african bit by a canadian mosquito would probably suffer as much as you are...
Been there though - I have a photo of my Brazillian mosquito attck and my legs are completely covered in large red bumps....
Good luck with the flight!

Beck said...

Try putting minty toothpaste on Swee'Peas bites - it works a lot better than calamine lotion on my kids.
Another beautiful post!

NotSoSage said...

Poor, itchy, Cinnamon Family!

I remember being in England and being so thankful for the notices painted at almost every intersection that said, "Look Right." I think it likely saved my life a few times.

The traffic that I found scariest was the mini-buses (I was told people call them Zola Buds, for a SA runner who fell at the Olympics, taking down a couple of fellow runners). They're packed to the gills with people and so many people drive erratically.

Good luck on the plane! Looking forward to more updates!

ewe are here said...

Ooh. I hate mosquitos. Sorry about the itching... I know what you mean about the Canadian mosquitos - until recently my parents had a house on the water in Nova Scotia, and boy did they love my husband! Northern Scotland has midges.

Hope your flight goes well!

Mad Hatter said...

have a safe and itchless flight