Daily Prompt: Trick or Treat

The Daily Prompt says, “If bloggers had their own Halloween and could go from blog to blog collecting “treats,” what would your blog hand out?”

Happy Halloween bloggers. Enjoy my treats.

1. A good backup and restoration for your blog
All bloggers need to backup their blogs, right? You never know when you’ll need it.
Updraft Plus
2. An offline storage for interesting articles you find for your blog
I use Evernote constantly and I can store interesting websites to research articles for my blog.
3. 30 of the best online dictionaries and thesauri
We can all use this, right?
The Best Online Dictionaries
4. A secure anonymous VPN
I use Strong VPN. If you want to sign up, ask me for a referral.
Strong VPN
5. Free storage place for all your online things
I use Dropbox. If I lose everything on my phone or my laptop, it is safely stored and waiting for me.

Vampire Bats, Scorpions, and Tarantulas, OH MY!

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Halloween..blood oozing from the necks of peacefully sleeping victims..eight legged hairy monsters rising from graves weaving their evil doings..stinging devils ambushing the unsuspecting with a venom so powerful that the prey’s tongue is numb and unable to cry out for help.

Who needs to decorate for Halloween when your worst nightmares surround your every move in the tropics? Four vampire bats are sleeping in my coconut fronds, waiting for the dead of night. When they awake, a heat sensor in their nose will lead them to Princessa’s neck ( the pregnant cow sleeping in our yard) where the warm blood is closest to the surface. Walking on all fours with their bodies lifted off the ground, they will approach my magnificent sleeping beauty like an army of waddling miniature ghouls.  With their razor-sharp incisors, they will make a neat incision without waking her. Then, the vampire bats will lap up her sweet blood with their tongues. Princessa will bleed for hours because the vampire saliva has an anticoagulant which causes the wound to seep for several hours.

The vampires will ambush Princessa night after night. The amount of blood that they ghoulishly lap won’t hurt her. However, diseases such as rabies and Chagas’s disease may kill her, if an infection from the bites doesn’t ravage her pregnant body first. The vampire bats quench their hunger with blood…all kinds of blood. It makes no difference if it is human, cow, chicken, dog, or cat. Blood…sweet blood…it’s all the same in their books. That’s why we sleep with nets over our beds. There are many blood seeking critters in the tropics. The vampire bats, though, are my worst nightmare.

If you have arachnophobia, visit the tropics for a big adrenaline rush of fear. It beats walking through a haunted house where fake, black plastic garbage bag tarantulas are hanging around on clothes lines. Come to our house for Halloween, where you can experience fear without paying a cent. We have hundreds of the hairy eight-legged creatures creeping around our porch, and burrowed in our garden. They are usually harmless to humans; the venom they inject with their fangs is no worse than a bee sting.

Actually, I have come to admire these slow and deliberate moving nocturnal predators. They are fascinating to watch. They spin a trip wire at the entrance to their burrows, alerting them of prey. Then, with their long appendages, they seize the insects, inject paralyzing venom, and liquefy the remains. They suck up the insect milkshake with their straw-like mouth openings..a tasty midnight snack. Yum!

I have nightmares about the stinging devils. I awake in a fearful sweat, unable to cry out for help because my tongue is numb like I just received a shot of Novocaine. Scorpions…hardy survivors of the fittest. They have an incredible ability to adapt to the harshest of environments. When food is scarce (insects mostly), they can slow their metabolism to a trickle, enabling them to use little oxygen, and wait out the insect drought. Yet, when prey is near, they can spring into action quickly. Did you know that if you put a live scorpion in the freezer, you can thaw it out in the sun the next day and it will walk away like it was just taking a little siesta? I’m on the hunt for an ultraviolet light because scorpions are fluorescent when placed under an ultraviolet light. UGH! Scorpions…my worst of worstest nightmares.

Happy Halloween everyone! If you are looking to be scared out of your wits, you are welcome to visit us anytime. Vampire bats, tarantulas, and scorpions celebrate Halloween every day of the year here!

The Legend of El Chupacabra

El Cupacabra and El Duende

Legends of bloodsucking creatures are present all over the world and throughout history. Seven years ago, I read in La Prensa that a young man was lost on Vulcan Concepcion. He had attempted to climb the volcano without a guide and was ill-prepared for the dangerous trek. Those foolish enough to scale the 1610 meter slopes without assistance are usually seriously wounded, lost, or as in the case of the 24-year-old Salvadoran, eaten by El Cupacabra.

My English students told me that the guides found his body a week later.  His head was wedged between two rocks, his leg was broken, and an arm was missing.  Luvis pounded her fist on my plastic table when she heard the news and emphatically stated, “It was the Chupacabra.”  “What in the world is a Chupacabra?”  I asked curiously.  They all looked at me astounded because I had never heard of the creature.

“The Chupa Cabra is all over the world,” Francisco informed me. They began arguing when I asked for a description of the monster.  One of my students said he was half goat, half man.  The other said he could fly and was probably an alien.  Luvis described him with fierce, pointy teeth and an amazing ability to jump from volcano to volcano.  Francisco said he only sucked the blood from goats.  Luvis said, “No, he eats many people on the volcano because that’s where he lives.”  They all agreed that the monster was dangerous and called him “The goat sucker.”

What I did learn to be fact throughout this strange conversation is that the islanders are very superstitious people.  They attribute any unexplained death or illness to creatures such as duendes, women that turn into monkeys, monsters that leave the dark lake bed at night in search of blood, and the famous Chupacabra.

Halloween is coming.  The children don’t celebrate Halloween in La Paloma.  Seven years ago, it was different.  We taught Luvis and Julio how to say “trick or treat” and helped them make masks.

Luvis was a duende and Julio was the Chupacabra.  We taught them to knock on our door on Halloween and say, “trick or treat.”  We were undecided whether to treat them or trick them, so we did both.  We stocked up on cajeta de leche (sort of like fudge) and Ron made no bake chocolate cookies with oatmeal. I dressed up like a fairy ( I even made a tin foil wand) and Ron dressed up as a monkey with a machete.

I asked Ron if we should teach all of the little ones that came to our house for English lessons, about 20 of them, about Halloween and invite them to our house for trick or treating.  But, thanks to Julio and Luvis, we had a better understanding of the superstitions surrounding our community,and we decided it wasn’t a good idea.  Our house was the good luck house in the neighborhood.  Who knew what the parents might think if we told them to wear scary masks and come to our house for candy.  We may have ruined our good reputation in La Paloma.  So, it was only Luvis and Julio that came.

Now that Halloween is approaching again, we decided to forgo the annual pagan tradition. After all, our house is still considered the good luck house in the neighborhood. We have a reputation to keep up. But, I do miss all the fun surrounding Halloween, so I’m thinking of making a poster to hang on our front door:

Wanted: El Chupacabra

Name:         El Chupacabra
Nickname:  The goat sucker
Height:        4.5 to 5.5 feet
Weight:       Unknown
Eyes:          Very large, very red
Build:          half goat-half man, very agile, can hop from one volcano to  another, fierce pointy teeth
Likes:         goats, blood, people, chickens, pigs, dogs, cats, travel
Favorite hangouts:  The volcanoes on Ometepe Island
Reward:     Come to our house on October 31st and receive a piece of candy for any sightings or known whereabouts of El Chupacabra.