Last night I had my first major run-in with the zancudos, the tiny mosquitoes that live throughout Central America. I fell asleep on the hammock in the last afternoon, and woke up with both of my ankles completely eaten.
The zancudos are a big deal because they carry both malaria and dengue, but they are less of a problem in El Salvador because the government has a preventative program in place, including a policy in which they visit people´s houses and fine them if they find sitting water anywhere in the vicinity.
Berthá and I spent a couple hours zancudo-proofing my room with spare fabric, wrapping paper, and screens for the windows. My bites led to one of my first Salvadoran nicknames: chele dulce. Chele is “white boy,” dulce is “sweet,” and chele dulce means tasty white boy.
As a slightly morbid anecdote, kids like to go around trying to squash the zancudos, because if you get one it explodes like a blood balloon.