BootsnAll Travel Network

Bed-bugs! Yeow! And a sad day in a beautiful place.

The day started out with a sad omen: I got up with a few of what I thought were very itchy mosquito bites, went to breakfast, and the TV was on. There was Kofi Annan, saying the UN has three missions right now: to prevent more violent deaths, to give refuge to those who flee the violence, and to help negotiate a lasting peace. I broke down and sobbed. Such worthy missions. So unlikely to be successful. There I was trying to eat my bread and milk, sobbing. And then the “mosquito bites” began to blossom, swell, and fester. At first there were only three along my pantyline, two on my neck, and two between my fingers. Now those are hard lumps, rashy on top, yellow underneath, and surrounded by large red rings about the size of a fifty-cent piece. During the day more have appeared. Perhaps the critters are eating me as I write this. I have a new one on my right ear lobe and on my right wrist. Please, if anyone who is reading this has experience with this, will you send me a comment? Must I destroy my backpack and all the clothes I have with me and start over? Does the journal have to go, too, and the postcards and envelopes? Is there anything I can do to salvage my clothes? If I have them in my hair, will a shower and a headwash help?

The bus trip from Porto, where the little attic room at Duas Nacoes is where I became host to these critters–to Braga, where I am now, and where perhaps my things are infesting yet another bedroom–was glorious. I´m up in the mountains, the air is clear and cool, the views of the valleys filled with white houses with red-tile roofs are spectacular, the roses grow like weeds, and I visited Sao Frutuoso, Jose Saramago´s favorite church in all of Portugal. It´s an ancient church, first planted where it is by the Visigoths, then taken over and made into a mosque by the Moors, then recaptured and made into a Christian church. So there are Visigothic stones, Moorish tiles, and Christian images. I found one that is new to me. It´s a woman (Mary, Jesus´s mother? Mary Magdalene?) with seven swords stuck into her chest. She doesn´t look very bothered by the swords, she´s seated in a restful, rather meditative position, gazing upward, as if the swords were no more than bed-bug bites. I saw her first here in Braga and then again at Sao Frutuoso. I have been walking all day, miles and miles, and blossoming with bites, so I´m going to cut this short, go to the hotel (the fanciest one I´ve stayed in since I came, a deal I got on the Internet last May), take a shower, and wait to see if everything I own is crawling with bed-bugs, and if so, what I should do about it. Somebody please tell me what you think I should do. I´ve put my collar up to hide the ones on my neck, fearing they will throw me out of the hotel if they recognize what the bites are, but the one on my earlobe can´t be hidden. It isn´t the horrors of Lebanon by any means, but if I have to get rid of everything I own, I need to know that so I can get started. When I was in Africa and encountered these, I just fogged the house, but I don´t know how to deal with this situation. I´ll look back tomorrow and hope for some helpful suggestions.

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2 responses to “Bed-bugs! Yeow! And a sad day in a beautiful place.”

  1. Christopher says:


    I’ve tried to send this three times– hope all three messages don’t show up (problems with the computer)!

    o percevejo de cama (=bedbug in Portuguese)

    They DO travel on backpacks, so you should probably ask at a hardware store for some sort of insecticide

    Treatment for the bites is antihistamines or
    There’s one sold in Portugal called DAKTACORT,
    which seems to be over the counter. They list it for fungal infections, etc., and don’t mention insect bites…perhaps the pharmacy people can recommend something better.

    Best bed-bug website:

  2. admin says:

    Thanks so much, Christopher. This is helpful, and I did some work on my own. I´ll blog on this and another couple of topics for today, and then I´m going to take an internet fast and go into meditation for three days in Ponte de Lima. Yours are the last words I´ll take with me.

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