Everyone accuses them of the nasty, itchy bites. And yes, they have their fair share of the blood-sucking around here. But it’s not them that inflict the worst wounds, oh no.

It’s the midges! The little blood-thirsty creatures: you can barely see them and yet there they are, sucking onto your veins like there’s no tomorrow. They are the perpetrators of the red blotches that stay with you for weeks and start itching at the slightest touch. They are to blame for the fact that the female population of Hangzhou (both foreign and local), instead of presenting smooth and alluring appendages, is reduced to something not unlike a colony of lepers. The second it gets just a bit colder they disappear, making you forget about that insect spray, only to return stronger than ever and catch you unawares when it gets warm again.

I literally never, ever, thought I’d say this, but leave the poor mosquitoes alone. They at least have the decency to alert you with the buzzing and they’re big enough to see them before they make their move. But the midges: I say, let there be war upon you, you little gits!