I can now unequivocally confirm that bedbug bites are the itchiest known to woman. It’s been three days of hell, my entire body erupting into rashes of little red bumps. I’m paranoid that I brought them with me from that dump in Madurai, but I don’t think so — I haven’t felt any bites in the night since, just itching. I wonder how much longer I’m going to suffer?

This morning I am finally going to bite the bullet and send home some books. By ‘home’ I mean to my friends Eric and Holly, who graciously volunteered (I mean assented with gritted teeth) to keep them for me for a few months. (I asked if I could send some ‘things’ and I think they were relieved that it didn’t mean stray dogs.) Books are turning out to be my main splurge here — not saris and jewelry as you might have imagined. I have loads of time to read and so far have not exhausted the supply of Indian history and politics I can find in the English-language bookshops here, although I can foresee the day that I do.

So my backpack has been getting heavier. I’ve jettisoned some I didn’t enjoy as much, but I find that I just don’t want to give up a lot of them. It wil not be expensive in relative terms to send them home, but it will blow a hole in my weekly budget.

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