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Imagine, I spent all this time in the mountains of Nicaragua.  There were all kinds of things to balance and precaution.  This included but was not limited to; balancing rocky paths, sweating my brains out, swatting mosquitos and  other unidentified vermin... things.

We stayed in a couple of great hotels, very charming, but not for the faint hearted.  I very quickly learned to shake out the sheets before getting in bed, shake out the shoes upon arising...  I also learned to check the shower for six legged guests, and convinced myself that the stress marks in the walls were not a concern.  I found myself wearing my progressive lenses to fight the flickering lights, and convinced myself that the electrical system in the showers (I think to heat the water) would not fry me alive in the name of cleanliness.  Of course I was  avoiding tap water at all costs, amoebas aren't good for the tummy.  I even got good at trekking through woods full of lions and tigers and bears, um I mean, snakes, unidentifiable bugs, and a few rarely seen what-evers, that thankfully didn’t show themselves… you get the picture…  I have to admit, I was very happy that I avoided all of the creatures, microscopic and several legged that I was on guard for.  The nature that I usually relate to is the mammal, the reptiles, and their chums, not so much…

After dinner last night, also swatting mosquitos (everything is outside), my colleagues took me to Managua where I checked in to a Best Western Hotel, directly across from the airport.  I had a very early flight this morning.  I noticed immediately it was very clean as I checked in.  After I walked the what seemed to be 200 miles to my room, I opened the door to a sweet smell, total cleanliness, no dust, no rocks, mud or pits, real towels, TWO bars of soap in the bathroom, two beds that not only had two pillows each bed, but two decorative ones to boot;  the beds each had TWO sheets.  There were curtains with pulls on them, the front desk staff spoke English and there was coffee in the room. 

After checking the shower for uninvited guests, and finding none, I happily took a honking hot shower to dissolve the layers of mosquito repellant and sweat and salvage what was left of my hair, Ahhhhhhhh.

Feeling squeaky clean and ready to sleep, I plugged in all of my devices to charge for the night; happily voltage in Nicaragua is 120 so I even had a super fresh blow dry.  I had to get up at 4:00 am local time for my flight.  I had already stayed up later than I wanted trying to catch up on some of my internet things, but I was okay with that as the sleep was bound to be wonderful.

I was all excited about the plush beds!  They were against opposite walls with a table in between.  I chose the left one which was closest to the devices for my alarm.  I always try to be a good guest, even in hotels, so I very carefully took the decorative pillows off of the bed I chose, and neatly placed them next to their counterparts on the other bed.  I love to sleep with two pillows, good for the neck or not.  With great anticipation I plopped the second pillow on the bed on top of the first and picked both up to move them to the middle of the bed...  To my horror, there was a blond GECKO apparently sleeping under the second pillow?  I wasn't even really sure he was alive. 

I thought, how in the world did this thing get all the way to Nicaragua from Sri Lanka?? (The only place in the world I have seen one like him)  He wasn't cute, green or Australian.  He was translucent, looked like he lived under a rock and okay might have been a baby...  Shattering all of my careful and considerate pillow placements, I grabbed and threw ALL of the pillows, including the decorative on to him so he couldn't move.  I am sure the poor thing didn't even know what hit him.  It was a stack of 8 pillows total.  He wasn't going anywhere.

Now that I had him trapped, I didn't know what to do.  It was just after midnight, I didn't want to bother anyone at that hour, but I wasn't touching him! I was afraid this 2-inch monster was going to get me in my sleep.  After all the careful avoidances of the other adverse wildlife, it ran through my mind that it would be tragic to buy it on the last night...

I sat... on the opposite bed...  I fretted... I anticipated... then I did what any other thinking human being would do.  I googled "geckos" to see if the bite and/or could be poisonous.  Again, I admit he was little, and in retrospect, I don't think his mouth could have gotten in to any kind of flesh, still I have been surprised over much less.  .....he was a baby....humph.

Google was no comfort...  they described geckos as hissing, startling and their bites hurting.  I thought about him being smaller than my thumb.... but logic had long left me and comfort was not available.  I called the front desk (FD), which went as follows:

Four long rings...

FD:    Answers in Spanish too quickly for me to understand...
MJ:     Habla Ingles?
FD:     Jes, of course!
MJ:     I need to ask you about geckos...
FD:     Come on?
MJ:     GECKOS, you know, weird lizards...
FD:     Leezard, come on? (I had obviously used a word    
          out of range)

MJ:     An incrusted being with a big tongue and possibly sharp teeth!
FD:     Si, and?
MJ:     Do they bite?  Are they poisonous? 
FD:     Bite, what?
MJ:     The lizard, GECKO, do they bite and do they hurt? 
           I have one in my room (oey!)
FD:     In the room?
MJ:     Si, in the bed!
FD:     In the towels?
MJ:     No, in the BED.  I can live with that if I sleep in the other bed and 
          know if he happens to make his was to me that I will not die in my
          sleep!  Is this okay, or should someone come get him?
FD:     (pregnant pause) Ay, we should come get.
MJ:     (relieved) okay, thanks, I am in 99, nueve, nueve.
FD:     Si, right away.
MJ:     Gracias, Buenos Notches
FD:     De nada, Buenos Notches


I waited for what seemed to be eternity, but was in actual time about two minutes.  There was a knock on the door.  At this point I had my bright pink "Turn of the Lights" jammy tee on so grabbed my conservative black night coat and wrapped it around me.  I answered the door.

A smiling and clearly prematurely aged maintenance in a navy blue uniform stood at the door stoup.  His salt and pepper hair and the deep lines in his face were emphasized by the florescent overhead light.  The Calvary had indeed arrived.  I slightly bowed and swung my hand toward the room as the universal "come in" motion.  We smiled at each other.  It was obvious neither of us spoke the others' language.  He said, "Gecko?"  I said, "Si".  His brow furled a bit.  I don't think any of them knew what I was talking about.  We stepped to where I had the gecko entombed in pillows.  I said, "Here!"  The tension mounted as I reluctantly removed the pillows.

We uncovered the gecko.  When he saw it, his brow relaxed and he chuckled.  The gecko freaked.  It darted under the left bed.  He said, "Pocito", I said, "You say Pocito, I say Grande"!  He grinned.  There was a little twinkly in his milky eyes that I could tell hadn't been there in a while.  he said, "Hokay, Grande".  He moved the left bed.  The gecko freaked again.  It sprinted across the room and disappeared under the other bed.

My grossed out feeling halted for a moment, I was amazed that geckos move so fast.  I refledted on a time in Jaffna when I was so thankful to get a shower at all that I showered around two of them in the shower stall... just now it dawned on me how fast they may have landed on me, or in my hair during that shower.  Suddenly I was thankful that incident was years behind me...  It was a memory without incident.

The caballero moved the next bed.  The gecko flash zipped across the room to behind the desk.  He pulled out the desk, exposing the devilish imp.  At this point the place was completely undone, over a 2-inch beast...

... yet ... if I was going to get sleep ... it had to be done... yes... ferocious comes in all sizes... had to...

Finally he was able to nab the little track star.  He said with a beam, "Pocito", I said, "Grande".  Our eyes met, then my full attention immediately diverted to his full hand with the intruder in it.  All little things are innocent, even reptiles, but lizards, geckos, iguanas, whatever you want to call them are difficult for me to embrace, even if I DO love all of God's creatures...

He cupped the gecko in his weathered left hand and put the beds and rest of the furniture back to their rightful place(s).  When the task was complete, I was secretly thankful that our little buddy hadn't escaped his hand during the activity.  I said, "Okay, bambino."  He smirked and said, "Si!".  I tipped him.  He smiled.  With a spring in his step and a reptile in his hand, he strolled out the door taking the wee gecko to his little casa outside.  They were happy.  I was traumatized.  (Albeit the latter doesn't take much)

I tossed for a couple of hours hoping the gecko was solo, didn't have friends or family that he may have left behind.  Finally I drifted off to sleep.  I left for home a few hours later... to cats, not geckos... So, tonight I bask in the meaning of civility.... cat abundant... gecko free...



Ginger Peterson
03/14/2015 11:57pm

Great story, Mary! Thank you for painting such vivid pictures :)

03/15/2015 8:03am

I am rusty on my nature 101! Next time shouldn't be so traumatic! :) Hope you are well, Ginger!

12/17/2016 4:45am

Oh, I'd like so spent so much time there! I like mountains so much!

05/10/2017 2:18am

Thanks! This was so exciting to read! You have very cool adventures! Waiting for more!


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    Mary Jean Eisenhower is the Principal of MJ Eisenhower & Associates