A bat just took a quick tour of my hostel. He came in through the kitchen, checked out the public space, made a pit stop in my bedroom and exited through another door. I barely looked up from my computer.
The bat didn’t bother me, and it made me realize how much I’ve changed since I
started my long-term travels. If a bat flew into my hotel room in the past, I would have declared a bat emergency, run to the front office (probably shaking and crying) and demanded a bat free environment. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to sleep peacefully.
But I’ve changed. In Central America, all the comforts of the United States are available, if you want them. You can live or travel quite luxuriously. You can book a hotel room with screens, roofs that meet the walls perfectly and offer full protection from the world outside. But I am trying something new.
Life in Central America is different. Central Americans often live in homes where indoor space and outdoor space co-mingle. A central garden, open to the elements, anchors the home, and it may, but most often will not, be closed off from living areas. Many times, to
use the bathroom, you need to cross through the garden. Yes, that means if it’s raining, you need an umbrella. Nicaragua stands out in their use of decorative building tiles that have holes large enough for most small critters to access easily.
I love it. But with the peace and beauty of those design choices comes some uncomfortable moments, at least for a girl raised in America. I’ve always loved nature, but called an exterminator if I saw something crawling on the floor. Now I know the difference between the squeaks of rats and the echolocation of bats, because both were playing in the eaves above my head as I slept one night in Granada. So far I’ve experienced not only rats and bats, but a scorpion, an ant swarm that covered my bathroom (but was gone in five minutes) several spiders and many insects, province and name unknown.
I’m still here.
I’ve gotten over my fear of creepy crawlies. I’ve realized they don’t want to hurt me. It might sound peculiar or creepy to those who haven’t experienced it. But to surrender yourself to nature has it’s benefits. First of all, it is nature. Bats and spiders eat mosquitoes – and mosquitoes are the devil. Nature is beautiful and not living behind the barrier of fully enclosed walls is very liberating and peaceful. Nothing is out to get me, and I get to experience the beauty of nature in it’s fullest realm. As I sit and type, the beautiful night breeze blows through my covered patio and I know, whatever comes in is not after me. It won’t hurt me, I don’t need to panic and it will leave when it’s ready.
Except the mosquitoes. Please bring on the mosquito eating bats!