I’ve been singing New Zealand’s praises for almost six weeks. I love the people. I love the scenery. I love the cycling. And, as of today, I love the sandflies.
Here’s the deal. The NZ tourist brochures don’t give you the full picture about the blood-sucking, thirsty, pesky, annoying sandflies. Sandflies, in case you don’t know, are smaller than a mosquito, have the sting of a no-see-um, and leave the itch of a super-charged horsefly. They leave welts the size of pennies and cause sleepless nights due to itching. On the flip side, sandflies don’t cause malaria.
An occasional “Welcome to NZ” brochure or tourist handbook might mention the presence of sandflies. Those same brochures might even suggest wearing long sleeves and tucking your pant into your socks. It might recommend applying bug repellent liberally. Some brochures even have a humor section calling the 5.6 billion New Zealand sandflies an endangered species. Haha. Very funny.
What those brochures don’t mention is the prevalence of sandflies at most of the scenic picture-taking spots we’ve visited. They don’t mention that picnicking is almost impossible unless hopping and swatting while gobbling down a meat pie is considered a picnic. They obviously don’t mention the profitability of small business owners selling “The Best Sand Fly Spray Ever- Guaranteed!” at highway robbery prices.
But, even with their pesky nature, I love sandflies! I love them because they get Eric loaded up and on the road faster than all my nagging and prodding combined. Today, surrounded by hundreds of thirsty, pesky sandfly friends, Eric was ready to ride before me…Hurray for sandflies!