Fear and Loathing in Parc Vista

Its been a rough last few weeks. Emmet and I are both going a bit stir crazy. The haze has returned on and off usually at least one day each week is too bad to go play outside or even to go swim. Everything smells like ash, there are times you can taste it with each breath. The days it is bearable the is at least a fifty percent chance of rain since that is the season we are in. For those that don’t know South East Asia has two seasons that I can discern, hot and hot and raining. But the worst days are those that it is not raining or hazy that we stay inside in a form of self imposed exile from the outside world.

The signs have gone up around the neighborhood, the warning dots on them red. The inspectors have visited the condo complex at least twice. Handing out insecticide, emptying flowerpot basins, and checking drainage on the porch. The teams of government workers scour the sidewalk drains and fields with nets and testing supplies. Dengue has risen its tiny ugy head in our neighborhood.

A viral infection born by the a small day biting mosquito, it causes fevers, rash, and anemia. Supposedly it is mild in children than in adults, yet Emmet goes nowhere without a citronella patch on his shirt and few dozen spritzes of OFF. A friend of mine once had dengue and described it as the worst experience of his life. Mind you this is a friend of mine who served with me in Iraq so he has a wealth of bad experiences to draw from. One of the moms’in our group of friends came down with it last week. A strong athletic woman, Sybil was confined to bed for 3 days with what she described as constant pain in her bones. Fitting since dengue is nicknamed “break-bone fever””.

From what I have heard the health council has pinpointed the mosquito resevoir in the neighborhood. The old police station on the corner behind our condo has been abandoned since before we moved in to the complex. It sowed in the grounds. Grass grown to waist height and gone to seed. Drainage ditches clogged with leaves. A leaky roof causing large puddles in the interior. In other words mosquito paradise.

This week saw cleaning crews overhauling the grounds, the signs dropping to yellow as the number of new cases drops, and Sybil back on her feet although still looking careworn and tired. Our complex is fairly mosquito free due to fogging twice weekly, but it still worries me to have E out and about sometimes. I’m not usually a worrier like this, I leave that to the wife, but dengue is not something to trifle with. Hopefully when the signs come down and the immediacy of it has passed we can go play again. I have bought five boxes of citronella patches though, I think we’ll both be wearing them for the foreseeable future.


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