Thursday, June 7, 2012

The impact of screen-less windows

We haven't had screens in our windows since we left the US.  In Prague it was just a nuisance but in Geneva it was a nightmare.  Living across the street from a river translated into living and sleeping with hoards of mosquitos in the summer.  I can't express how happy I am that I don't have to deal with that anymore. Believe it or not, bugs really aren't a huge issue at our place in KL.  The building is fogged on a weekly basis and the most we get is an odd mosquito or moth flying through every once in a while.

The main problem here are the thousands of other animals that are completely unaffected by fogging. Malaysia is home to around 20% of the earth's species, making it a country with some of the richest biodiversity in the world.  I love the wide array of animal life, but not when it's in my house.   It's great to see lizards crawling around outside but the first time you're making dinner and notice one hanging out on your kitchen counter it becomes decidedly less so.  It's neat to see monkeys playing around on the side of someone's building, but it makes you think twice about leaving your balcony door open.  Let's just say that corralling and releasing wild animals that have found their way into my home isn't my favorite pass-time.  Having screens would solve the problem so well that even after four years of screen-less living I'm still surprised that no one uses them.

Annoyance at having my personal space invaded aside, I do absolutely love the diversity here.  It's pretty incredible to be walking outside, not at all expecting to view wildlife, and then look up and be staring in the face of an animal you've never seen and didn't know existed.  It has happened to me a few times now, where I've learned a species exists because I randomly ran into one of them.  It happened twice just this weekend. First we saw this guy:

The Google informs me that it's a dusky leaf monkey, but I've never seen a picture of one before and had no idea that there was such a primate prior to coming across a dozen of them while taking a walk.  Watching them ended up being the highlight of my day.

The flip side of this happened not ten minutes after seeing the monkeys.  I saw a species I had no idea existed and, in retrospect, I would have preferred to have kept it that way.

For the purpose of size comparison, the leaf was as big as my palm.  I know I'm going to have nightmares about monster ants invading my kitchen.  I wish I still was blissfully ignorant that there is a type of ant that gets that big.  I've never seen them in the city so I have a suspicion that they only live in forests, but that hasn't stopped me from looking into the practicality of having screens installed in our unit.


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  2. Okay first off the monkey picture was awesome. The second picture, uggggh. But I completely share your sentiments on loving animal life when it's not inside your home. It was like that in my host parents' house in Costa Rica-geckos while adorable were a daily visitor in my bedroom and I had mild nightmares about one climbing on me as I slept. I hope you will be able to get your screens though!

    1. We've been told we can't add screens to the windows. Apparently it's against the buildings policy as you can't have anything visible from the outside on windows or patios. I could not be rolling my eyes harder.

  3. The monkey is adorable.

    I see us back in Switzerland or Germany at some point again for a short stint. My first stop will be Coop Bau and Hobby for screen netting to duct tape on my windows. Never again... And FIL house in the country I ha to spray myself with spray each night. Yuck.

    1. Yeah, I will never understand why everyone seems to be cool with swatting at flies while they are trying to eat. Let me know it the screening + duct tape works.

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