Thursday, 8 November 2012

Leech attack

I've been talking today to intrepid development engineers on the subject of staying healthy abroad, and they've been encouraging me to tell stories. I was reminded of this one.
A leech was feeding on my leg in Nepal. It was during the monsoon when there are lots about. There is something utterly revolting about watching a slimy black parasite bloat up on your life-blookd but I didn't want to just rip it off. That can leave mouthparts behind and promote infection.
I walked up to a woman who was squatting by the path smoking. I asked in my best Nepali, ‘Please may I use your cigarette to get this leech off.’

‘You have a leech,’ the woman said, looking in pity at this numbskull.

‘Yes, and I want to get it off by burning it with your cigarette’

‘Don’t be daft,' she said, ripping it off my leg and cackling.

She must have had some skill, though, because she didn’t leave the mouthparts behind. I just had to walk home with blood dribbling down my leg - because of the anticoagulant. Most unattractive.

An unfed leech

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