Soldiers of the Rain

Sara Shah

(Europe, UK, US)

The coming of the rainy season is marked by more than just a pressurised building of heat trapped in thickening layers of humidity. This time of year looms with a growing vibration caused by the hum of another set of flapping wings.

The impending wet season is marked by the coming of the mosquito. As the moisture in the air grows thick, like an impenetrable barricade, so does the number of these blood sucking beasts. In Bali it is not just phone, wallet, and keys that you must remember as you walk out the door, because bug spray is the most vital necessity.

If you are not quick enough in spraying the mixture of lemongrass, eucalyptus, cinnamon, geranium, and citronella oils as day turns to dusk, you might as well consider yourself unarmored and defenceless entering a battlefield. The enemy will attack ferociously, rising from the borders of stagnant waters of unending rice fields, starving for blood.

Without knowing when it happened, dozens of nickel sized welts will form on your skin. A few unlucky ones will be stung and left with the mark of the beast, suffering from more than just a mountainous red bump.

Bali’s coming wet season is not ruled by the monsoon rains, but instead the mosquitoes reign. The soldiers come carrying malaria, dengue, encephalitis, yellow fever, zika, and more. 

These little flies, even in heaven on earth, remind us we are nowhere close to being the rulers of this vast world.

Sara Shah

is a

Guest Contributor for Panorama.

Sara Shah is a travel memoirist and poet. She writes of her adventures around the world as a woman travelling on her own. Her journeys and writings take place on both internal and external planes.

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