Disgusting Bug Bites from Around the World - Istanbul Edition

Here's an update to what should be an ongoing series, Disgusting Bug Bites from Around the World. This time, taking place in Istanbul.

Within minutes of laying down for the night in my hostel dorm bed, I could feel the itchy welts forming on both arms. This place seems to have so many mosquitoes, I thought to myself naively. I tucked myself tightly under the sheets, hoping to get away from the biting. But more welts started forming immediately after that. I could feel them running down my back, my chest, and even my feet. They burned with that distinctly searing pain I've come to recognize from overzealous bugs who were feeding like this was their last supper. Could they be bed bug bites?

I used my phone as a light and pointed it at the bed. Nothing there but blank blue sheets. So I jumped into the hall and used the camera as a mirror on myself. Here's what I saw.

Yikes! I ran downstairs to notify the receptionist, who insisted they looked like mosquito bites and that the hostel never had problems with bed bugs before. She gave me a bottle of mosquito repellent and sent me back into the room. I listened to her because I wanted so badly to believe her. So badly. I sprayed on some repellent and laid down into bed trepidatiously, clutching the repellent bottle itself like a talisman.

At this point, I was running through rationalizations in my head to try to get some sleep. For one, I didn't find any bugs on the bed so of course they couldn't be bed bugs. And bed bug bites usually take a day or more to start showing. Only mosquito bites itch immediately like this. And no, these bites don't look like a pattern of three. I could totally believe three separate mosquitoes just coincidentally bit me in the same area simultaneously.

Five more minutes and more itching in new parts of my arms. I sat up quickly and turned the phone at the pillow for light. And there I saw two black dots scurrying away quickly to the underside of the bed. GROSS!! 

I ran back to the receptionist and told her to move me to a new room but the best she could do was put me in a different bed in the same room as the hostel was almost completely booked. At this point, it was 3AM and I was so exhausted, I took her offer. I moved my bags out of the room into the common area and slumped down to sleep. I was not molested again by the critters after that.

The next morning, the receptionist made a mention of the fact that I was checking out as I had made a reservation for two nights. Really??!! Still, she let me go paying for one night only.

I asked her what she planned to do about the bed bugs and she said she would tell the cleaning staff to vacuum the entire mattress. I responded that that was not enough and I recommended they vacate the room of other guests and fumigate it. To this, the receptionist turned wide-eyed. Then silence.

Anyways, it's only a suggestion based on what I've read. I'll just get going now, I told her.

It's times like this that completely drain me of my will. I'm just so tired now and wish I could call a genie to fly me home and pour me a bath of cold milk so I could soak all these burning bruises away. But of course, I have to keep going. I'm sitting in the living room of another hostel now, waiting for my new dorm room to open up. I'm listening in on conversations between other guests and I've so far made out that everyone is from the US and they all appear to speak with a frat boy accent. Just great.

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