It’s been an interesting 24 hours in Granada.
Right now it’s 5:30 a.m. and I’m writing this in the darkness of the living room in my casa. I was awoken about 15 minutes ago by a giant storm — wind rattling the windows and rain pelting the house. I finally gave up on sleep and came downstairs to open the doors and windows, letting a cool(ish) breeze inside. After about a month of travel in Mexico and Central America over the last year, this is the first rain I’ve seen, and it’s a welcome change.
(Everybody in Portland just put their fists through their computer screens.)
I’m sitting in the dark because the power is out. This has stopped being noteworthy, as the power has gone out repeatedly over the last day. Yesterday it was out from about 3-6 p.m., and then it cycled through another hour of five minutes on and five minutes off. I’ve read that power outages in Nicaragua are a way of life, a combination of shaky infrastructure and lack of supply. Yesterday, during the first power outage, I went to the local lavanderia to drop off my laundry, and the employees were out front starting up a giant portable generator. Clearly this is not a one-time event.
Then again, four days ago the power company slipped a note under the door that said the electricity would be turned off today if they didn’t receive payment, and yesterday they delivered a follow-up threat, so it’s entirely possible that my landlord simply neglected to pay the electric bill. I won’t take this lying down. Somebody’s getting a sternly-worded review in the spiral-bound guestbook on the coffee table.
All of this pales in comparison to last night’s bedtime adventure.
As with every night, I brushed my teeth, went upstairs to the bedroom, closed the door, took off my clothes, climbed into bed, reached for the light switch and…
Was that a sound? Something in the hallway? It might just be the wind, or my imagination, or a creaky house, I thought to myself.
That definitely sounded like something. The walls here are pretty thin. Is it one of the neighbors moving around? I reached for the light switch and…
What the heck…?
Out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw movement on the other side of the room. I climbed out of bed and turned on another light and…
[Thump] [Flutter] [SWOOP!] [DIVEBOMB!]
HOLY CRAP I AM TRAPPED IN THE BEDROOM WITH A BAT!!!
Yes, somehow a bat had gotten into my (not at all large) bedroom, and it was now swooping wildly in a panic around my head as I ducked and shrieked. The bat kept banging into the door looking for an exit and then flying back at my face, while I flailed my hands in front of me like a drunk, naked televangelist casting out demons.
I then performed the following three activities, in this order:
1) Grabbed my iPhone so I could capture this event on camera. First I tried a still shot, but I soon realized that a black swooping bat in a dark room was not going to be visible. Then I switched over to video mode and tried to follow the flight of the bat while simultaneously ducking and weaving out of the way. It became clear right away that not only was I going to fail in capturing any footage of the bat flapping around the room, but I was also most likely to accidentally capture footage of my own man parts flapping around the room. I am not Googling “drunk guy accidentally filming his own junk” to see if there is a salable market for this.
Just one of the quality action photos:
2) I put down the phone, and selected the most appropriate defensive weapon I could find — a pillow. I don’t think I have to remind anyone how effective this gambit has been in any number of vampire movies.
3) I began edging toward the bat, which was currently hanging on the wall above the door. I held the pillow in front of me and occasionally swung it in a manner that was intended to convey a combination of empathy and defensive menace. The bat took one look at the wild naked guy crab-walking across the room waving a plush bludgeon and high-tailed it for the ceiling, where it hung upside down and looked at me as if I were a lunatic. Bats are surprisingly good judges of character.
I managed to crank open the door, and as I slowly backed away the bat flew into the hallway. I don’t know where it went after that, because I slammed the door and waited for my heartbeat to slow from Defcon Hamster to normal. For all I know, the bat may have flown downstairs to eat my bananas and write a sternly-worded note in the guestbook.
To make matters worse, I awoke this morning with some itchy, swollen insect bites on my feet and hands, so clearly these bats aren’t doing their job of eating bugs in the house. If I catch malaria, dengue fever or any of the extensive catalog of tropical diseases warned about in the US State Department travel advisory, I know a bat that is going to be given a severe pillowing.