Friday, July 4, 2014

Spam and jellyfish

Now that's got your attention! Yesterday we took the bus up to San Jacinto to meet with Dave, the new landlord for lunch. We arrived early and walked to the house from the bus stop, it is about one block. He was busy in the bank, so we just wandered the beach, and he met us soon after. We talked of the planned upgrades, what he could do before we moved in, and what would have to happen after. We prioritized the list, and think it'll be ok that it's a work in progress. Most places we've lived in have been, that's what home ownership on the cheap is about. So, after our pow wow, we headed down the Malecon for lunch, he was on his motorcycle, but the walk took us about 6minutes, we past plenty of restaurants, but he wanted to take us to his favorite. We all got the al muerzo, with shrimp in our soup, and fried fish entree. The fish was really fried, not the lightly pan fried we have been enjoying so much at Yolita's, so we didn't like it as well, but as always it was plenty of food, $3 and the view and company was pleasurable.

We planned our next meeting, an invite to another expat having a Bon fire/beach party next weeknd, we will stay the night in the house, so we're not taking the bus late. Looking forward to meeting some (or all) the local expats, and some locals as well, and who doesn't like a Bon fire? We bid farewell, and walked the beach again, to gather some treasures.

The biggest sand dollar we've ever seen! But we also saw some not so good things washed up on shore.

These are blue bottle jellyfish, we almost touched one, but then I remembered a blog post from my research days, and how they packed a punch, and to steer clear. When we got home, we looked them up, and sure enough they are nasty! Portuguese man o' war, not to be tangled with, here's what Wikipedia says;

The stinging, venom-filled nematocysts in the tentacles of the Portuguese man o' war can paralyze small fish and other prey. Detached tentacles and dead specimens (including those that wash up on shore) can sting just as painfully as the live organism in the water and may remain potent for hours or even days after the death of the organism or the detachment of the tentacle.

Stings usually cause severe pain to humans, leaving whip-like, red welts on the skin that normally last two or three days after the initial sting, though the pain should subside after about an hour. However, the venom can travel to the lymph nodes and may cause, depending on the amount of venom, a more intense pain. A sting may lead to an allergic reaction. There can also be serious effects,  including fever, shock, and interference with heart and lung function. Stings may also cause death, although this is extremely rare. Medical attention may be necessary, especially if pain persists or is intense, the reaction is extreme, the rash worsens, a feeling of overall illness develops, a red streak develops between swollen lymph nodes and the sting, or either area becomes red, warm, and tender.

Treatment of stings

Stings from a Portuguese man o' war may result in a severe dermatitis. The Portuguese man o' war is often confused with jellyfish, which may lead to improper treatment of stings, as the venom differs from that of true jellyfish. Treatment for a Portuguese man o' war sting includes:

  • avoiding further contact with the Portuguese man o' war and carefully removing remnants of the organism from the skin (taking care not to touch them directly with fingers or any other part of the skin to avoid secondary stinging)
  • apply salt water to the affected area (not fresh water, which tends to make the affected area worse)
  • follow up with the application of hot water (45 °C/113 °F) to the affected area from 15 to 20 minutes  which eases the pain of a sting by denaturing the toxins.
  • if eyes have been affected, irrigate with copious amounts of room-temperature tap water for at least 15 minutes, and if vision blurs or the eyes continue to tear, hurt, swell, or show light sensitivity after irrigating, or there is any concern, seek medical attention as soon as possible

Vinegar is not recommended for treating stings. Vinegar dousing increases toxin delivery and worsens symptoms of stings from the nematocysts of this species. Vinegar has also been confirmed to provoke hemorrhaging when used on the less severe stings of nematocysts of smaller species.

So there you have it, the blog I read originally said they are seen around the full moon, but Wikipedia didn't say anything about that, I guess we'll just have to peruse the beach before we jump in.

Now the spam part. We were told our container was arriving on the June 25th, and we would hear from the port, to arrange for pick up. The 25th came and went and we had heard nothing, so on the 1st I contacted our shipper in NJ and asked if he could find something out. Later that day we got a copy of our "bill of lading" ( no that's not a typo) it had the ports telephone number on it, and I was advised to call them for questions on time frame. I forwarded that document to Fernando, and asked if he wouldn't call them and find out when it was to arrive, how long before customs would get to it, and then find us a trucking company to bring it to us. He said he would. Well yesterday when we got back from San Jacinto there was an urgent email from the shipper in NJ, saying that the port has had our container since the 25th, and can't get a hold of us. We only gave our magic jack telephone #, but because that's a US #, they won't call. They also said they've had no response to emails...what?!

I decided to check my spam folder, and sure enough there were two emails, one from back on the 25th, and another the other day. Gmail had put them in spam, because they were in Spanish, a language I "don't usually" get emails in. Thanks! So now I feel rushed, the port gives a person 15 free days storage ( I was under the assumption it was 30) now I'm down to 7! Luckily this isn't a holiday weekend here, so Fernando should be able to get his phonecalls answered. 

I translated part of the email and it sounded like we needed to go to Guayaquil in order for the container to be released, sure wish we had more time, thanks again Gmail! But, Guayaquil is only 130 miles away, we could do it in a day (if Fernando will drive) the bus would be much longer. It just may all work out, let's all keep our fingers crossed that there are no more speed bumps...I know, be flexible.

Hope everyone in the States has a Happy and safe 4th. The adventure continues...

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