Scorpions, what do I know about scorpions? Not much. Which is what lead me to the dilemma I was in, in the middle of a street of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
After a long day on a bus from Belize City to Playa Del Carmen, in horrid humidity, crammed next to our backpacks, we followed the tour group to a restaurant for a quick bite. Joel, I , another Aussie and US woman decided at around 11pm it was time for bed. The next day I was to swim with the whale sharks, something I had been longing to do from the age of 9. So we left the restaurant for our hotel. The hotel was only a few blocks away, the street was busy with a carnival that happened to be on down the road. So late at night yet children where playing about and the place was buzzing with joy and laughter.
As the four of us meandered our way through traffic and up on to the side walk, I was the last in a line. The street was lit but still held shadows in corners and behind cars. I recall seeing a drain pipe on the wall next to me and a dark patch of damp ground below it, running along to cracks in the ground. Thinking it was a small puddle I did not think to look down. My first mistake. For in that puddle sat a small little creature happily enjoying his night out, until I stepped way to close or possible on him. SNAP went his stinger right on top of my big toe!
The second mistake was wearing thongs (in Aussie land we call flip flops, thongs, as in the shoes on your feet). My feet were bare to anything that saw me as a threat. My first reaction was to drop my purse and bottled water, exclaim a foul word and grab my foot. Not having a clue what attacked me, I looked down to see a small dark figure running for its life towards a parked car. Its tail was down, so to me it looked like a lizard. How on earth had a lizard bit me and was it suppose to hurt THAT MUCH! When the other three turned to see my reaction both Joel and the other Australian woman’s faces dropped to the ground, saw the creature and paled. “It’s a scorpion” Joel said.
First thoughts, Okay, well that solves what it was. Now, aren’t scorpions deadly? The only knowledge I had of theses little guys was that if you got stung, you would die. Call it, too much David Attenborough documentaries on the desert! The four of us were not sure if I was about to die, so we all stayed calm. Including myself, the first thing I learnt from my dad about the bush; if you are bitten by a snake or spider, relax, the more you panic the faster the blood pumps the venom to your heart. So, I took some deep breaths and sat on the side walk. Joel had the hotel key on a lanyard around his neck, he took it off and tied it tight around the top of my calf to cut the blood flow. The two girls ran for the hotel to seek advice and even an ambulance. As I waited, Joel attempted to squeeze out the venom and poor cool water over the sting. Gross, I know, but it was super painful. I could feel the venom racing up my veins.
The girls came running back to say the hotel reception was closed and ran back for our tour guide at the restaurant. Joel had spotted a police office and stopped him for advice on what we should do, unfortunately he couldn’t speak a lot of english. So he helped Joel catch the creeper crawler and placed him in the bottle.
My tour guide Andrea, ran down the street with the other two girls calling “Was it Black?” By this stage all I was thinking… Wait, I can’t die! I have to swim with Whale Sharks tomorrow, can I die after that? Joel answered for me that it was brown/black and decent sized. To that Andrea breathed and sigh of relief slowed her pace saying, “It’s okay, you’re not going to die, but… You will have a numb mouth and fever.”
Alas, I am alive haha. Andrea got me to a medical centre, where I had an injection for pain and allergies… In my bum! That was awkward. The venom was painful and I did experience a numb mouth and fevers, however everything went pretty quick after that. We took the little guy with us as we needed to show the doctor to confirm it was not deadly. I did ask them to not kill him and release him, but I don’t know what happen to him, after all he got the shock of his life when I almost stood on him. I had a painful night, but I was up and ready for the Whale Sharks at 5am the next morning.
Is it not scary when you realise you are in a bad situation in a foreign country? Anyone have any crazy stories to share? Please do I would love to hear them.
Love, H xx