Feb 26, 2012, 8:16 PM
Post #1 of 4
I'm working on preparing for publication sections of a journal written by a U.S. painter working in the Lacondon in the 1960s, just as the culture was being forced into assimilation by foreign missionaries and others. Fascinating stuff, as pure social science, but also of interest as an adventurous tale of jungle travel. Alas, the artist was an immigrant to the United States, and writing in English was not among his many talents. And his Spanish is, at best, approximately phonetic.
Writing about the creepy crawlies he encountered, the author says:
To avoid the torment of the cockroaches last night, we slept in the tent. That was a mistake because it rained all night and saturated the old floor of the tent and everything in it, including us. In addition, tiny flies called chackistes entered the tent through the net and bit us all night. The chackistes are smaller than the rhododores, practically invisible, but they bite painfully and leave inflamed spots on our skin. One can get hundreds of bites in a few minutes.
I managed to track down "rhodorores" -- bedbugs -- without too much trouble (although I'd appreciate the correct spelling if anyone has it), but "chackistes" throw me. I've tried Charles I. Hogue's Latin American Insects and Entomology" (U of California, 1992) and every other source I can think of, but no luck. Anyone down Chiapas way have a clue what these critters might be... or what might be a better spelling?
As I emerged from the tent, a green, furry creature about four inches long and half an inch thick obstructed my path. A neighbor explained to me that this was a caterpillar with a very painful bite. They live in the corn and are a menace to the natives.