Not sure when it happened, but the teabuyer, me, succumbed to the dreaded CENTIPEDE sometime during one of the hikes, probably through the forest with all the amazing creatures, on the way to see the Taiwan Beauty field. When I was a child living on the island of Hainan, I came face to face with a centipede when I was a toddler, and stopped in my tracks, and pointed it out to my mom. Smart, mom said, that I knew better, at age one, not to want to cross paths with a furry, deadly crawler. I have however, been bitten by a scorpion on my neck some years later when it dropped from a tree on me. These were everlasting memories.
So I haven’t been on a tropical island in the summer since I was 4; this year, I decided to brave out the horrors, since two of my favorite teas are made at this time and I have never dared to come photograph it during production season before.
My centipede attack was almost deadly. The bite itself became increasingly painful and hot to the touch. But worst of all, a rash started to spread in a radius. This was the mother of all rashes. Huge and frightfully disfiguring, the swells and eruptions full of puss, itchy, painful, and second degree in burn sensation. Blisters form and reform.
The hospitality and the Ren Ching Wei of the island people show themselves during this painful attack. Each person I met, including the bus driver, had some ready made concoction they felt would work. Our B and B landlady gave me some oil she saved for insect bites that looks like stuff from the 1970s. The bus driver had some homemade cream. Mr. Su had an ointment he saved from his army days, all purpose, particularly for really nasty stuff.
At the end, we went to the local farm clinic, where the doc laughed it off. Centipede, he said, and some very bad allergic reactions. I got a shot, and some unknown drugs. The whole ordeal took 10 minutes and 400 NT (roughly $13 USD) at the clinic.
My last photo of the mosquito bites was ill received, so I will post some nicer photos here, for the second half: Reward. More reward than the tea? Did I mention it’s around 36 C but feels like 40 C? and the flying bugs, did I mention those yet? Tea can make up for a lot of suffering, but for this level, we have to supplement: