In preparation for a freezing night bus ride, I dug deep into my pack to retrieve a fleece pullover… what I found was a nasty surprise.
I pulled my arm out of the bag—recoiling in surprise and pain. A sharp pinch of fire surrounded the first knuckle of my thumb. I sucked on the wound instinctively, spitting frequently (although it's not necessarily what you should do—ingesting poison is bad).
What the hell was that?!
The cracking of ice cubes retrieved from the freezer attracted the attention of Freddy, the husband of the family running Techo Azul. I told him that was just bitten by something inside of my backpack.
Freddy watched as I took my pack outside, turned it upside down, and began shaking it vigorously—cautiously inspecting the contents for the culprit. Images of a Colombian Death Spider raced through my mind.
Everything was out of the bag, but nothing was found. My hand throbbed slightly—I hadn't imagined this. I held the backpack open while Freddy probed it with a broomstick. Still nothing. Sweating hard in the mid-day sun, my eyes searched the ground (and the floor of the room). Nada.
Then, all of a sudden, the enemy was spotted at the bottom of the pack—a scorpion. I was stung by a scorpion.
Pretty crazy—lord only knows how long he'd been hanging out inside of my backpack. The last time I dug that deep in my bag was when I packed away my fleece after using it in Honduras (two months ago).
I wanted to get a snapshot of it inside the pack, so I had Freddy hold it for me briefly. I returned moments later with my camera, but the intruder had vanished yet again. We couldn't find him anywhere.
Before I knew it, Freddy had grabbed an antiquated aerosol insecticide sprayer, pointed it inside my now empty backpack, and started pumping away. Half entertained and half concerned about the innards of my pack being laced with poison, I had him stop—a white cloud was waifed out of the bag.
Another 10 minutes of work finally shook the critter free of his hiding spot. Now exposed on the ground, a large rock in my hand, his number was up. SPLAT.
My hand seems to be fine.