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Monday, 8 June 2009

Ant Music

A visit to the kitchen inspired me to write a little on the subject of Egypt and Ants (via a quick detour round You Tube – who else remembers Adam and The Ants as a punk band before they went all New Romantic?). As a special treat, those who make it to the bottom of the post get to see the video.

One of the downsides of living in Egypt occurs every summer, and that is the frequency with which you have to do the washing up and wiping down the kitchen surfaces. For those with natural sloth-like tendencies and a couple of cats scoffing meat 3 times a day, this is a big change from the UK.

We have several different types of ants here – apparently 166 varieties - Ants of Egypt Warning – do NOT CLICK ON THE LINK IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH!!!!! I accept no responsibility!

For the man on the Clapham Omnibus (or woman on the Cairo microbus as in this case), we concern ourselves with just 2 types – big ones and little ones. The little ones are worse.
Ants are actually fascinating little creatures – like nature’s vacuum cleaners. If you ever leave a bit of food outside or leave a dead gecko or something, within a few hours the ants have carted it off to the netherworld and it is no more.

The main problem is with the very small ants. They have amazing detecting devices in their bodies and can detect a bit of food hanging around within minutes. If you don’t do the dishes IMMEDIATELY, you will, within minutes, have a trail of ants parading from somewhere behind your kitchen cupboards, along the side of the washing machine, up on to the counter and in to the dishes. This also happens to unopened bags of rice left on the counter overnight – apparently the little **** use their legs or something to cut holes in the bags and swarm inside – don’t ask me how I know – yuck. That’s two new bags of rice I had to throw away in the past 2 weeks. Screw-top jars for dry goods are ESSENTIAL. You also learn to keep many things in the refrigerator that you wouldn’t normally do in the UK such as sugar!

The arrival of mini-ants is digital, not analogue. Winter, no mini-ants. Then, suddenly turn up one day late in May, mini-ants. You never get a day with just a few. It happened last year and this. There you are in your routine of washing up twice a day, then one day you wake up and the ants have arrived. I commented to a friend on the day it happened this year. From this day forth until sometime in September you are now compelled to wash up about 8 times a day which believe me, sucks your life blood away. And it’s an inefficient use of time and hot water.

Every now and then I confess to spraying them with noxious, environmentally-unfriendly substances. We have a range of such substances available here in Egypt that are banned in the UK. I know, it’s a shameful confession to have to make, but sometimes the hordes are so great, it’s the only way of dealing with them. Better to wash up 8 times a day to avoid bad karma.

And here, for those having a nostaliga attack is Ant Music by Adam and the Ants (I don't know if this plays in the UK, I know they have issues with You Tube!)

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