Dancing with Permethrin

Amelia just dropped us off at a Residence Inn just north of San Francisco Airport. Were were arbitrarily given a suite with two separate bedrooms.

This is perfect.

With us we have two large spray bottles of Permethrin, a neurotoxin that is used as an insecticide.  When sprayed on clothing and allowed to dry, it forms an invisible coating that kills mosquitos and other small insects on contact.  It turns you into a Dancing Incarnation of Death, killing every six-legged thing that touches you.1“Lasts for six complete washes! 

Now you can imagine that this level of lethality is not without side effects.  You would be right.

Dan has turned one of the rooms into a ‘dead zone’, stripping off the bedclothes and moving them out.  I argued that the artwork hanging over the bed had already killed everything in the room, but he wouldn’t listen.

He has opened the windows to allow the air to circulate.  (The windows open a grand total of one inch, so this is mostly a symbolic gesture.)  He has ‘suited up’ with a plague-quality air mask and a pair of rather badly-fitting latex gloves.  We laid out our clothing on the bed, and he shooed me from the room, closing the door.

And then he sprayed.

He sprays socks on the bed,
Solemn as poison he spread,
And far to the south,
Mosquitos shudder with dread.

colombia 2011-11-09 (1)

Now the kill zone is filled with shirts, jackets, sleeping bags, and socks.  They lay there drying, a map of our journey fabricated from toxic fabric.

Tomorrow morning we’ll get up at some hour so early that I can’t even describe it, and catch a 6am flight to Houston, followed by a flight to Panama City, and then on to Cartagena, arriving at 10:30 in the evening.

From Cartagena, we’ll be driving overland to Quito, Ecuador.  There will be lots of camping, and hopefully some wonderful photos. Stay tuned.

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  • 1
    “Lasts for six complete washes! 

2 thoughts on “Dancing with Permethrin

  1. Oh my gosh, I just literally laughed out loud at your narrative!  I swear, if you weren’t a photographer, writing would serve you well! I see that Dan is taking his bug-repelling very seriously, despite your thought that the picture had already killed everything, oh my… enjoy my friends 😉

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