It’s been a while since I’ve written a post on Tuesday’s Travel Problems and the only real excuse for this is being occupied on other things, such as writing about getting visas, crossing borders, backpacking through villages and jungle tours.
If you read my post a few years back on the need to avoid insect bites and to ensure you carry insect repellent, I thought I’d give an extra bit of advice today. I type this from Guatemala and the last few weeks have seen an upsurge (or a back full) of insect bites. On me and on my girlfriend Panny. While some of these came from bed bugs and mosquitos, a lot of them were on buses. Bus bugs are a common aspect of travel that we forget about. The need to spray insect repellent shouldn’t be limited to beds, clothes, skin and hostels when staying in the same place. Buses can be worse. Take heed a spray a load of insect repellent on your back and ass before you board or your back will look like this…
In Sri Lanka last year, my girlfriend picked up a nasty rash worth of insect bites from a tightly squashed local bus from Kurenegala to Dambulla. It took a few weeks for the bites to completely disappear and in that time a lot of unwanted scratching. Let’s be honest – scratching bites while not recommended is the natural human way of trying to ease the pain and make it go away. It might never work, but we all do it.
Guatemala’s notorious “chicken buses” are a hot spot for bugs. These tiny insects work their way into the “comfy seats”, then into the clothes of the passengers and they bite you. After crossing the border from Mexico’s Ciudad Cuauhtemoc into La Mesilla, a double Chicken bus saw us arrive in Quetzaltenango, then we took chicken buses to San Marco, Santa Maria, Santa Clara, Tajumulco and San Pedro La Laguna. These bugs are everywhere. They like to get into your clothes, so your bags are also at risk from these bugs.
So as I hop on another chicken bus here in Guatemala today, please be alert and use your insect spray when getting on buses. Not just in Guatemala but any country you feel the bus seats could be full of bugs!