Monday, December 7, 2009

Snuggling in Bed With Dracula

So, I get to this small village called Villeta right around 7 pm. It's already dark and I am absolutely wiped. The heat on the road has been almost unbearable and the day's elevation change totaled close to 1,800 meters (>5,700 feet). By the time I stumble into my motel room I'm a bit delirious. I immediately strip naked, run into the shower and let the cool water wash away all the grime and dirt I've picked up from the day's ride. I dry off and collapse on the bed face down, naked and exhausted. The room in pitch black.

By this point, there is a part of me that is absolutely starving and wants to go out to forage for food, but there is also an equally demanding part of me that says that what I really need is a good night's sleep. It is in this fog of indecision that I first hear what I can only describe as chirping or crackling right above my bed. At first, I'm not even sure the sound I am hearing is real. I am sort of going in and out of consciousness and the chirping/crackling is being drowned out by the sounds of salsa floating up from a couple of bars right below the motel.

And then, it happens. Twenty minutes later, still lying on my chest, butt-cheeks up in the air, in the pitch blackness of a Colombian motel room, something suddenly falls on my back. SMACK! CHIRP, CHIRP, CRACKLE, CRACKLE! I jump 10 feet in the air and reach for the light. Fifteen seconds later I record the following video. My apologies for erasing my 10-year-old girl screams.





POSTSCRIPT
Those of you who follow me via Twitter and Facebook know that after my initial bat-induced heart attack I decided to rent a separate room for the night. I didn't want to alert management because I feared they would just kill the poor critter. I had left the window open hoping that it would scamper out into the night. But I just didn't have the energy to move all of my stuff into the new room.

This morning I went back to the scene of the crime. At first it looked like my plan worked. I cautiously went through all of my things, one at a time. Everything checked out all right, until I looked inside my bike helmet. It's hard to see in this video, but believe me, it's in there.

19 comments:

Andrea said...

Wow, that is one intense bat encounter - congrats on surviving!

Your bike trip looks amazing! I just finished my first tour last week - 9 days, about 400 miles through Southern California, and I definitely can't say anything quite that exciting happened :) Looks like a trip full of surprises - enjoy!

And hey, we have the same kick-ass bike. It's been good to me.

Jonna (aka mom) said...

Have you figured out what species of bat it was? I am wondering if it may be a fruit bat... isn't it south america that has those? They come out and raid fruit trees in plantations if it is, thats all they eat. Or it could be the vampire bat... they feed on cattle and livestock. I hope it got back outside where it can find food. Not natural for a wild critter to be indoors.

Kerry said...

I had three bats living in the closet in my apartment in the Midwest... I ended up trapping two of them in big cups and letting them outside. It turns out our building had a huge population of them, as it was a very old house covered in ivy... who knew bats would live in ivy??

I love the song you replaced your girlish screams with. Nice editing job!!

Safe travels to you.

Jerry Critter said...

Most bats cannot fly up from the ground. That's why it climbed up on your curtains and did not fly off the bed.

hoboknitter said...

ah, this is the funniest thing i've read in ages! better you than me!!! it kept me amused last evening in my sickbed, reading about it on facebook :-)

dtb said...

Awwwww! It's cuuuuute!

We had a bat fly into the theater where I was interning once. Sadly, it did not find its way out and simply starved to death. Mr. Batters is lucky to have found you and your helmet to hitch a ride in.

Anonymous said...

Jack! Don't mess with bats! Are you vaccinated against rabies? You might want to check with locals about rabies in that area and if anyone knows what kind of bat that was. We had some bats (like 60) living in our attic a few years ago. We hired a pro to exclude them (no harm to the bats) and clean-up afterwards. I like bats and I know they are good creatures, but rabies scares the crap out of me!!

Here's some info from the WHO: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs099/en/

The Executioner said...

Thanks for taking compassion on one of the smaller species on our planet. The bats have probably been living in that section of the world far longer than that hotel has been standing. Where else are they to go?

Nancy said...

Bats are nature's bug eaters and for that it is great to have them around. The problem is they can carry rabies.
I get such a giggle when I read your adventures. Thanks for making my Monday a little brighter.

Kandice said...

I would have died. Then I would have arisen from the dead just so I could scream bloody murder. I am such a girl.

Anonymous said...

I am so pleased that both of you made it...I must be the only one that thinks bats are just so cute...now having said that...I would not want one falling on me in the middle of the night.

Aleza

Linda said...

Oh, how cuuute!!! (Except possible diseases of course)

I guess you felt like poor Lucy Westenra, the innocent victim of Count Dracula:). Unlike her, you were lucky to survive :).

Confessions of a Mother, Lawyer & Crazy Woman said...

I think my heart just stopped. And then stopped again.

Rhiannon said...

I read this to my mom who was jumping up and down with the willies by the end. She had a bat friend land on her face as a little girl. This after nights of trying to convince her father that there was most assuredly a bat in the upstairs bedroom.

I did miss the 10 year old girl screaming... it would have only made the fear more real!

Jack said...

@Andrea,

Surleys are awesome. No doubt. Hope you get back on ASAP

@Jonna,

I don’t think it was a vampire bat. It was probably a fruit bat, in which case I was probably alright. Even vampire bats hardly ever attack humans.

@bertjwygant,

Oookkkkkkk

Jack said...

@Kerry,

The song was just a stroke of genius. That bat and I shared an unforgettable night.

@Jerry,

You know, I didn’t know that. I have a feeling that is why it didn’t fly out the window that night.

@hoboknitter,

I hope you are feeling better…

Jack said...

@dtb,

Ouch, that sounds awful. Well, I hope it finally did fly out by itself.

@Anonymous,

Nope, not vaccinated. So far so good. But would I even get rabies if it just landed no me and didn’t scratch me?

@the executioner,

Maybe it’s a loss of habitat issue. Who knows. But I guess I wouldn’t be surprised.

Jack said...

@Nancy,

No worries. Glad you liked the post.

@Kandice,

Well, I was a 10-year-old girl for about 5 seconds that night. I know how it feels.

@Aleza,

I’ve heard other people say the same thing about bats. I can never say that, but I guess it just depends on the person. For me they are rats with wings…:)

Jack said...

@Linda,

Survived, but barely…:)

@Confessions of a Mother…,

It was touch and go for me as well.

@Rhiannon,

Shivers…But yeah, that audio is never being heard by anyone. Believe me.