Friday, September 7, 2007

Terrestrial Leeches

As I am gearing up for Madagascar, I'm really fearing terrestrial leeches. I just recently found out they have them there, apparently en masse, and I am not too thrilled about it. In a book about Madagascar I'm reading a woman described hearing them come towards her in the bushes. Wow. That is likely to freak me out. I am going to psych up for it. I was sort of afraid of bats and then in Kenya when I found them whizzing around me I was calm about it and it wasn't as bad as feared. So, if the leeches get me, I really hope I don't get an infection, they don't give me any diseases, and they aren't too itchy. I came across this woman's travel tips on leeches and found it informative, but it added to my fears more than anything else - I had no idea leech proof socks existed or that leeches could penetrate regular clothing. OMG! There is also apparently a terrestrial leech repellant, which I do not have time to research or purchase. Eeeeek. Usually I love the sound effects of animals when I travel, but hearing leeches crawl towards you is like something out of a horror movie!

Frankly, I was so busy this summer I didn't have much time to research the nitty gritty details about Madagascar, or to do my normal amount of pre-travel reading. I also forgot to get my rabies vaccine in time so I have to go without it. I didn't think it was that big of a deal but then I read the US State Department warning and it's recommended! Bummer! It also says there are lots of stray dogs. Normally I would pet them, but given the rabies prevalence and my lack of vaccine, I believe I will try not to.

I have also learned they have the plague there, and several types of fever there isn't a vaccine for. Oh my goodness. I hope I come back healthy. I know enough not to walk on the beach, thanks to a friend who did so in Tanzania and told me about getting sand fly larvae in her feet that had to be cut out. I am not going to let the earth touch my feet at any time.

I spent a week making sure my first aid kit was really stocked, only to then read about someone else's that made mine seem inadequate. (She packed syringes, 4 kinds of antibiotics, Flagyl for giardia, etc. Makes my Cipro and over the counter stuff seem paltry!) I actually began to feel unprepared instead of my usual calm before travel. I am a really light packer usually, and this trip I am still struggling to get down to the weight limit - I have to remove 11 lbs of stuff. I don't know what I can give up, as this trip I have to take a sleeping bag, etc. to camp out.

I hope that it's not nearly as rough or as infested with disease as I've been reading. I am up for the adventure, but I admit, I am feeling apprehensive right now! I am sure I'll get over it with the first lemur...but gosh, terrestrial leeches, eeeeewww! I am always a little nervous about traveling alone, and I fear Madagascar may prove to be easily my most difficult trip ever. I am worried about even the availability of safe drinking water and food. I packed some power bars. I hope I get there and find all my worries were for nothing and it was a smooth trip. I'll let you know in about a month!

No comments: