By Angel Nuñez
AGUAMALA (Portuguese man of war)
If there is one thing San Pedro children and fishermen and tourist guides also are almost sure to encounter once in their lives it is an encounter with a jellyfish (pica pica) or a Portuguese man of war (aguamala). Years Ago when there were no swimming pools, man of war attacks occurred even more frequently because children swam in the sea a lot. So what do you do when you get stung by a man of war? Doctors today recommend flushing the area where the venom was injected with alcohol, vinegar or even meat tenderizer. But who in the world goes swimming and take these things along with him? What to do? It is hurting! Well pee on it. That is what we did 25 years ago in San Pedro. It helped of course and now we learn that the urea in urine contains some form of ammonia and that is another recommended remedy for a hurting sting of a jellyfish or a Portuguese man of war.
THOSE UGLY WARTS
Okay, I am going to say this for one last time. Toads have nothing to do with warts. They do not know what warts are and if it looks like they are full of them, it is only a myth. Warts are benign or harmless skin tumors that can occur single or in large numbers. Deal with them as we did Years Ago in San Pedro. Do not play with them because they spread very easily. The number one way to treat a wart was to get some concentrated vinegar and with a cotton swab, apply it to it. Do not let it run on your skin or it will burn the entire area. Every day the wart will look whitish and you can remove the soft pieces with a razor blade. When the wart was almost flat you applied as little vinegar to it as possible, possibly using the tip of a toothpick. This process took about a week.
Another physical way of removing it was to tie it tightly with the hair of a horse. In the absence of horses, people used the long hair of a girl. Superstition had it that it had to be the hair of a virgin girl. This process took about two weeks.
And still yet, another superstition was to touch the hand or foot of a dead person and then rub the wart with your finger nine times. My brother suffered with severe warts and he tried the dead man’s method and surprisingly the warts vanished. Of course he had tried other methods before, so it is a bit inconclusive.
Is there a known doctor’s cure for these hiccups (also spelled hiccough) that discomfort us and cause people to laugh at us? How about when it affects a poor baby? Well, old ladies remedy practiced years ago in San Pedro was to hold your breath for as long as you can and releasing very slowly. Another very effective way was go give the person a sudden scare. And even more practical was to give the person a sudden bite on his little finger.
Now we did try scaring babies and when the baby started crying, the hiccups were usually gone. However, taking a piece of thread from the baby’s clothing, molding it into a small roll and placing it on the baby’s forehead did the trick quite effectively. None of these are superstitions. They are all practical ways of scaring away the hiccups. Hic cough!
25 Years Ago Books Can Be Purchased At:
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