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Stung by a nasty in Bukit Lawang


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Story submitted by Scott 11th July 2009

One of my favourite places in Indonesia is Bukit Lawang located in North Sumatra. It is in the Gunung Leuser National Park and home to orangutan, gibbons, monkeys, tigers and lots of nasty things that can kill you like cobra snakes, scorpions and centipedes.

On a visit last year in April 2008, I had stayed with my friend Obiwan who runs Indra Inn. Iwan and I had had a fair few beers together as well as some really bad Indonesian whiskey and laughed most of the night telling bad jokes and stories.

At about 1am I went upstairs to my room to go to bed. As soon as I turned out the light and lay down on my bed I heard something that sounded like a bee or a wasp fly down from the roof right past my ear. Without thinking I swiped at it with my hand to protect my face and bang! It felt like someone had pushed a nail through the tip of my middle finger.

I yelped in pain and the little bugger had flown away. I quickly jumped up and turned on the light still swearing away in pain. I sat outside of my room on the balcony and inspected my finger. It was throbbing with pain and started to swell up.

Being a little bit drunk (well maybe a lot drunk) I started thinking of all the possible things that could have stung me. I was hoping that it wasn't a jungle bee or wasps as I am allergic to bee stings and being a few hours drive from any 'decent' hospital I was a bit worried.

I could see the hole the little bugger had pierced into my finger and the tips was swelling even more. I just happened to have a bit more whiskey in a bottle in my room so I started to have a little bit more to drink and was waiting to see if the pain traveled down my finger to my hand or arm. If that happened I would have had to have gone straight to a doctor, though where do you find a good doctor at 1am in the jungle?

After about 5 minutes and a few more swigs of the bottle I started to relax as the pain was just localised in the tip of my finger and it was throbbing less now.

After a bit more time I decided to go to bed to see if I would wake in the morning. As you can tell from me writing this story I did wake up and went downstairs for some breakfast. My finger was still a little sore though the swelling had gone down though the evidence was still apparent with a large red hole in the middle of my finger.

Iwan was downstairs and he asked me if I had bumped my leg on the table last night. What? He said he had heard me yelling and thought I had bumped my shin on the coffee table. Thanks for coming and checking on me!!

I told him the story and explained I never actually saw what stung me and just what I had heard and felt. He had a look at my finger and said oh it is nothing dont worry. He said it was probably a flying ant. If you ever get to Bukit Lawang you will see these large red flying insects that look like a cross between a large ant and small wasp. If you see one don't let it sting you as it bloody hurts!


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Contributed 11th July 2009

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