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This post is brought to you by the phrases "locked in an airplane cabin" and "blood-sucking insects," and by the number 2, two being the number of different long haul British Airways flights that Yahoo executive Zane Selkirk discovered where bedbugs were devouring her body. To make things even more perfect, BA's flight attendants and customer service reps treated Ms. Selkirk horribly throughout and after her flights from Los Angeles to Heathrow to Bangalore. She's helpfully set up a website called BA Bites! to describe the experience.
We don't want to get into too many details, on account of how thinking about this nightmare kind of makes us throw up in our mouths. It suffices to say that at various points during her in-flight journey Selkirk observed: live bugs clinging to her blood-stained shirt next to their dead crushed friends on her shoulder, multiple generations of bugs crawling around and infesting the headrest and seat, and over 90 bites covering her body. The flight attendant on her first flight responded to the earliest of these episodes by angrily demanding "why didnít you tell me about this earlier?" Because that's obviously what the problem was.
Bedbugs Okay, we know you don't want to think about them, but if you're either traveling to New York City soon or you're sleeping in hostels or cheapy motels anywhere in the world, you've got to at least be aware of the threat of them, and the minor measures you can take to safeguard yourself. Like checking for them would be a good idea. Just lift up the hotel/hostel pillows and the edge of the mattress; it's simple but it could save you.
We bet the United Nations wish it were so easy; the massive, iconic UN offices building on the east side of Manhattan recently came clean that they've been dealing with an infestation on almost every floor since early last year. Grossss.
While we thought bedbugs were something that only worried our sister blog, apparently our jet-set lifestyle--especially thanks to budget airlines--is spreading bedbugs to places you might not have expected to catch them. In western Europe, pest controllers Rentokil report a 40% increase in the incidence of bedbugs in planes, trains and buses. Ew!
Apparently as well as nestling in seats that aren't cleaned adequately between passengers, the bedbugs also party on in the luggage hold and hop between bags. This summer the bedbugs have been especially active in Spain, with pretty much every hostel along the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim trail infested--they're hoping to close them all down in winter and clean them up until the next Ryanair or Easyjet load of bugs (we mean, tourists) lands.
· Bedbugs Make a Return Through Low Cost Flights [Guardian]
· Bedbug Plague Strikes Santiago de Compostela Pilgrim Route [Telegraph]
[Photo: Alaina B]
We think of Austrians as pretty tough folk--their skiiers are hardcore, for instance--but they are currently whipped into a tizzy over the Yellow Sack Spider. The creepy crawler is causing mass panic across the Alpine nation; this week 190 people visited a hospital in Linz, although only eight of them actually had symptoms resembling a spider bite.
It's fine that the Austrians are practicing spider safety, but the arachnid isn't poisonous--the bite is similar to that of a wasp's sting. As creatures terrorrizing a nation go, it's not the same as Bruno the Bear, but we could see how intensive media coverage of the spider could cause people to fly off the handle. As for us, we still think the scariest thing from Austria is, and always will be, Ah-nuld.
· Austria gripped by fear of spider [BBC]