At Indie Road we like to make a lot of jokes about racial stereotyping, but (most of the time) we never really mean it. This post, however, is a very direct attack on one particular group. They like to loiter around in large groups and outnumber their victims when they least expect it. It’s uncomfortable to be in the same room as one. A small encounter can leave you with a bad impression of them for a long time to come. They’re such rotten fucking bastards that even glorious Captain Cook complained about them in his journals. They attack and leave miserable those who like to partake in outdoors activities. Nobody is safe.
No you presumptuous dickhead, I’m not targeting people of an ethnically diverse background or those with growth problems, who the fuck do you think I am? Although the last time I was attacked by an army of dwarves from Congo, it didn’t go down so well. I’m talking about sandflies. Motherfucking, rage inducing, vacation ruining insects that were born in the fires of Satan and who have a disturbing ankle fetish. You can find them in several places around the globe, but never anything like you do on the South Island of New Zealand. They can smell you from as far as twelve light years away, and yes, they want your blood. They’re supposedly only where there is flowing water and bush, but I suspect they are evolving to survive in any harsh environment. I bet they’ll find a West Coast sandfly at the top of Everest soon. Maybe even one on the moon.
In 1851, Captain John Lort Stokes wanted to name some places in Doubtful Sound after his encounters with the bastards. He considered putting “Venom Point”, “Sandfly Bay” and “Bloodsuckers Sound” on his map. Much like Captain Cook at Cape Tribulation, as he named Mount Sorrow, I think he was just the whinging pom of his time. Anyway.
I remember a few times camping on the West Coast when I would wake up in my cosy little one man tent as the sunbeams filtered through the light grey polyester to reveal at least thirty of the fuckers sitting on the outside of the mosquito net, smelling, watching and waiting for me to unzip the entrance so they could swarm and devour me. I would stare back thinking “you crafty little manipulative buggers” and try to think of a tactical solution to the evidently present problem. They got me every fucking time.
And then there are those times when you open a car window for two seconds for some much-needed oxygen at a stop light and before you know it the fish population of the Great Barrier Reef has reincarnated as a dark swarm of demons around your face. I can tell you that, while they are probably full of protein, they absolutely taste like death.
How about the times when you’re feeling beautiful and rather handsome and somebody offers to take your photograph in front of Mitre Peak, and it ends up looking like this.
Fucking hell. I mean, before you know it you’ll be camping in the car with your better half, cuddling to get warm underneath your single sleeping bag. A hand will drift, a kiss will linger, and the windows will start to steam up. As your fingers start to crawl southwards you’ll feel a little short on oxygen and crack the window just a mere millimetre to allow the flow of air to resume and you’ll get back to your partner, and start to slide your hand down her back towards her underpants but something will stop you. A small little squishy tumour which catches your attention on her sternum stops you, and when she leans back to check what’s stopping you, you’ll notice that she has magically grown a beard, only the beard is moving, and then the horror will begin. You’ll start slapping each other in what seems like a moment of extreme domestic abuse that you’ll struggle to explain to the police later and then start clawing at yourselves at the red swells accumulating on your wrists and ankles. She’ll scream and fall out of the car door, tits swinging in all directions as ten thousand black dots descend from nowhere and drag her kicking and screaming into the woods, only to remain as two massive trails of fingernails and blood in the soil, and as you cry out after your lover, the lead sandfly, Namu, will pull out a fucking revolver and demand you donate all of your blood to the swarm waiting patiently with their tiny bibs on and tiny cutlery poised, slowly licking their tiny lips with great anticipation, or you will be permanently disabled for life. And the skies will turn black.
I mean, WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT FROM ME? You’ve violated my body, you’ve penetrated me and left me bleeding and in pain and begging to be put out of my fucking misery! Is my body not enough? Do you want my sanity as well? Well fuck it, just take it, just take it all. You can ravage my limp and lifeless corpse hanging from the ceiling beams and have a fucking banquet then. My last thoughts before kicking out the chair will be of scratching my foot. I hope you’re fucking pleased with yourselves, you bloodsucking scum.
The worst part is there is absolutely nothing you can do. I mean sure, there’s tropical grade insect repellent and mosquito nets and all that shit, and even a rumour about marmite, but you’ll still get bitten and you’ll be scratching yourself for days. I don’t know of a single traveller in New Zealand who hasn’t been bitten at least once. Sometimes, it helps to have a “victim” in your group who always gets bitten first by insects because their sacrifice will mean a world of comfort for you, but there’s always a stray who will find your exposed wrist. I’m pretty sure some of my closest friends were originally thought of as “the exposable victim” in the ongoing narrative of my mind.
If you’re on the West Coast of New Zealand or just considering going there, please, for the love of God and all that is holy, be warned that these merciless barbarians will do all that is possible to ruin your holiday and to spill your blood in the name of their fucking sadistic sandfly god. But by all means, pack your insect repellent and armour up, because where the sandflies loiter tend to be extremely beautiful and unique locations that are well worth the pain you will endure.
And if you’re a sandfly and you’re reading this, please die.
– Tom @ indieroad