For the past six weeks, we're told, the Cuban government has been fumigating every home, store, office, hotel and street in the country weekly against mosquitos. It's Cuba's response to the Zika panic sweeping Latin America.
I told you about our first surprise encounter with this policy in a post last month.
Our second encounter happened in a restaurant in Trinidad. Amira and I were having pizza and beer in a government restaurant for locals (both the pizza and the beer were $1 each) and a fumigation truck unceremoniously drove past the restaurant, leaving behind a super dense fog of insecticide in the street.
Our third encounter was really bad.
We learned later than fumigation normally hits the house where we were renting a room at around 1pm Monday's. Our host decided to not warn us about it, assuming we'd be at the beach or something.
Anyway, they showed up pretty early in the morning. Our host somehow convinced them to not fumigate our room, figuring that we'd sleep through it.
From our perspective, we were woken up by what sounded like a cross between a chain saw and a leaf blower on the other side of the door separating our room from the home's living room.
It was a WTF moment, to be sure, and it took us a few seconds to realized that the house was being fumigated, with us inside the house.
The windows of the room close with these old-school slats (everything in Cuba is old-school), one of which doesn't close all the way. Anyway, the dense cloud of pesticide started pouring into the room, a little through all the slats and a lot through the one that doesn't close.
We decided to run for it, but when I opened the door to the living room, the pesticide was so thick that visibility was exactly zero.
We started feeling the effects of the pesticide (headaches, nausea, dizziness) and realized that no matter what, we had to make a run for it through the living room.
So we covered our mouths with towels and moved from memory to the front door, then across the patio and down the stairs.
It really sucked. Making matters worse, the next day we were using the Internet at the nearest WiFi hotspot (some 17 blocks away), and were attacked by great swarms of mosquitoes.
The fourth fumigation happened today. For the first time, we got advanced warning of the fumigation, which was supposed to happen at 1pm.
During our third gassing, our lungs were affected, so our plan was to ask the fumigators to skip our apartment. So Amira hung around and waited. When they arrived, she explained our situation and they agreed to skip it.
Then a neighbor came over and said (in Spanish): "No, every apartment must be fumigated." She then implied that she'd report to the government both the fumigators and the apartment owners and they'd all get in trouble. So they fumigated.