Munich, 16 July 2013.
One of the local newspapers today had a very large headline with an accompanying picture of an animal that startled many commuters on the train this morning. I might have jumped too, had I not lived in Florida for approximately 33 years. Though the animal pictured was not reptilian or a shark, it was an animal which is infinitely more dangerous than most of the scaled creatures or fish back home. The picture was for a story about hordes of mosquitoes.
After a winter without end, and a spring deluge not witnessed since the time of Martin Luther, summer has arrived here in Munich and greater Germany. This July is shaping up to be the driest in a decade. But that has proven to be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes.
The local lakes are abuzz with the sounds of splashing children (and mosquitoes). The bike paths are swarming full of riders (and mosquitoes). Some locals have begun to cut back on bathing as a method to dissuade the blood suckers from landing on them. Trams and subways are a perfect place to test this hypothesis. Mosquitoes are known to love French perfume more than garlic so why wash away the grime? Infrequent bathing is what many people did years ago to hinder the spread of the Black Death, unsuccessfully. But I digress.
Rather than enjoying the silver lining of this warm dry weather, the locals have managed to spin it into minor catastrophe. The mosquitoes are coming! I seem to recall hazily that last year there was a similar story about ticks. Perhaps it’s still in the evergreen story database, coming soon.
Why can’t these parasites just be sprayed with some chemicals that sterilize them, or even better yet, kill them dead quickly? That’s what we do in Florida.
Another thing I noticed this past weekend was the numerous demonstrators against genetically engineered foods. America has been using them for years, without any known side effects, so why can’t they bring them here? Must we wait the obligatory 20 years and then get them? Everyone knows they’re coming eventually, so why the delay? It only puts the farmers here behind the rest of the developed world.
August in Germany is known in the news business as ‘das Sommerloch’ ( the silly season). Most of the population including politicians are on holiday. Since there is little to report on, stories are made. Once the kids are back in school in September, things will begin to heat up again. But for now, we’re stuck with mosquitoes, ticks, and the occasional fire.
Any long-time citizen here will tell you that the story about mosquitoes is simply the starter. Next week will surely have an article whose headline will blare out something about ‘sex’ and/or ‘scandal’. The Catholic Church is an oldie but a goodie for those. So we’ll see.
School is out in about 2 weeks, and then the stories will really get weird or interesting, depending on your tastes.
Enjoy your summer.