April 29th, 2008

the crazy gringo strikes again

So I should probably tell this, though it's embarrassing...

Many of you know that I've been somewhat of an amateur entomologist after taking a college survey in insect biology. Excited, I brought my bug net and collection materials to Belize, as I've heard of the great deal of biodiversity that can be found in the semitropical climates.  
I did some minor collecting during training and found some really awesome stuff, but had to put most of it on hold as a lot of my collection began to rot or become infested with parasites and detritivores. In addition, work started to get the best of my time and the bug net found its place under my bed for awhile.
So last month I was sitting with my host mother Catarina and her daughter Shona, whom I love. It was about 7 at night and I had just finished eating my caldo with lovely corn tortillas when SUDDENLY she flies in; a tropical emperor moth (Pavlovia pavlovia) Thee size of my FACE, and starts fluttering around the single bare lightbulb in the kitchen ceiling. I start freaking out with pure joy and excitement, and my host mom is just trying to kill the thing. I tell her to stop and run like the wind to my room and dig out my bug net. In a flash I'm back, planning the perfect swipe to capture the moth like the jedi that I am. 
Then I have it, perfect position, right where I want her. I take a good wind up and swing -
And ya know, as the lightbulb started to shatter to pieces I shot a glance at my host mom, but by the time my eyes met her it had gone pitch black, and the three of us were standing in darkness.
Count a few beats of silence, as I assess the situation...somewhere a dog barked.
I'm standing with a bug net in one hand in the middle of a thatched kitchen with a dirt floor, shattered glass everywhere, and the other two people in the room have no shoes on. It's dark as pitch thanks to the new moon, and the moth has long since flown out the window.
Cut to five minutes later, my host fmily is sitting on chairs with their feet raised in the air, shining flashlights all over the floor as I meticulously search the dirt for fragments of lightbulb with a palmleaf broom and a pigtail bucket.
I felt really really bad. But I would have felt worse had they not been laughing uncontrollably the whole time.
So...that was a consolation, I guess.
Ya know, sometimes I feel that when I go back home, my village will be mostly sad that they're losing their primary source of entertainment.
The end!