Skip to main content

I'm glad they didn't get stuck in my hair

We took a little trip into the country over the weekend, to Mutoyi. There are lots of wonderful things to say about Mutoyi, but I'm going to start with something spooky -- giant spiders. We were touring the grounds of a hospital. The children and the nurses and all that stuff was great but we became captivated by giant yellow and black spiders spinning webs in the bushes just over the terrace wall.

I think they are golden orb weavers. There were at least twenty of them, and this one was the king. His body had to be about as long as my thumb. If they are golden orb weavers, then we are lucky they didn't decide to get stuck in our hair as we were leaning over the railing trying to snap photos. Their venom is similar to that of a black widow, but less potent. They are usually not fatal to humans but can cause some nasty swelling and pain around the bite site.

We were in a group, and some people couldn't understand my and Mike's fascination with the spiders. Je les deteste, "I hate them," we heard from more than one person. I tried explaining in my broken French that I like all animals, but I do prefer spiders when they're outside and I'm inside. I think my reaction to the chicks, bunnies, and cow later in the trip proved that I'm an animal equalist. But I've seen chicks, bunnies, and cows before. I'd never seen a spider like this.

Written with information from


Popular posts from this blog

The Acid Bug

My blog will now join the short list of results that pop up when you search for "nairobi fly, acid bug" on Google. Mike was hit by one over the weekend.
The Nairobi fly is a small beetle that does not bite or sting, but based on its nickname acid bug, guess what it does? The insides of the bug are toxic, and if you smack it against your skin the juices cause a burning rash. They are common throughout East and Central Africa, and it's the season for them here in Burundi. We think Mike and his friend rode through a swarm of them on their bikes over the weekend, because his friend has some burn spots, too, and the spots appeared on both of them after they returned from the ride.
We've heard of two remedies to soothe the burning, but Mike hasn't tried either yet. One is to use toothpaste, the old-school white kind, and the other is to cut a potato and rub it on the burn area. Both the toothpaste and the potato are supposed to draw out the acid. If you wash the area imm…

What Goes Through My Head When I Lock My Door

When I'm alone in our apartment, or alone with Muffin, I lock the deadbolt, day and night. Here is my thought process:

I'm walking down the hallway toward my door. I nod "Hello" in a neighborly way to a man also walking down the hall. I enter my apartment (having had my key ready since I first got into the elevator because women are conditioned from an early age not to be fumbling for their keys in an area where the distraction of doing so might make them vulnerable to an attack) and close the door. I put my hand on the deadbolt but I don't turn it right away.

What if the guy who just walked by thinks I'm locking it because I'm afraid of him? 

It's not about him specifically, though, it's about being a woman alone in an apartment building. 

So what if he's offended? 

It's none of his business if I lock my door or not, unless he was planning to enter the apartment, in which case fuck him, I did the right thing by locking the door.

I'm a nar…

Book Review: Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey

After you've read something, please consider leaving a line or two on Goodreads and Amazon. The authors appreciate it!

Here's my review as it appears on Goodreads.

Ghostland: An American History in Haunted Places by Colin Dickey
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really liked this book in the beginning. I grew up in an old haunted house in New England, yet I'm always a skeptic. (99% of supernatural activity ends up being the wind or a cat — and cats are creepy as hell.) I liked reading the stories behind the stories, whether they debunked the legends or gave credence to them. I’ve always been interested in history and nonfiction and ghost stories are the old “fake news.” Entertaining but you shouldn’t necessarily take them at face value. As the book went on, I found the stories themselves no less interesting but the format became tedious.

A couple of the stories really stood out to me. There are many cases of ghost stories being used to control a narrative that makes people feel sa…