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The Tale of the Bot Fly: An intrepid traveler learns a grotesque lesson

Posted Oct 26 2012 8:00am
Two years ago in Peru, on a hot, muggy morning in the Amazon jungle, a small group of travelers gathered for the day’s hike. Michael from Florida took one look at me and winced. “You’re wearing that?” he said. I looked down at my lime green Prana tank top and three-quarter-length pants. Yes, clearly I was wearing that. The problem? “The mosquitos,” Michael’s wife prompted me. She wore a long-sleeve khaki shirt, khaki pants, and was spraying insect repellent on her khaki hat, which had a mosquito net attached to the brim. Ah, right. Unlike the oversized boy scouts from Florida, this adventure travel writer from Colorado was showing skin. I knew there was no malaria in Peru, so I wasn’t concerned. In my mind, Michael and his wife were overly cautious travelers, usually a hallmark of inexperience. Meanwhile, I’d backpacked across the West Bank of Palestine during the Arab Spring, sleeping on bug-infested cushions in Bedouin camps. I’d also trekked through the rain forests of Rwanda, where there actually is malaria, during malaria season. Hiking in the Amazon jungle at a resort in Peru was child’s play. My smile dripped condescendence. “I think I’ll be okay,” I said. ...
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