My knees are bent, braced ready for the action to come. Book in one hand, torch in the other. Ricky is to the left of me. In position holding a book also, as well as clasping tightly to a can of bug spray, finger hovering above the trigger… waiting… ready…
We are huddled strategically around two sides of the bed. Our prey – the ‘Beast’ is nervously trying to wait us out beneath the base. But we will not back down. Oh no, we may be gulping down large pockets of air to calm our nerves and pep-talking our way into victory, but success needs to be ours. The alternative is just too incomprehensible to bear. I can tell Ricky is scared. So am I. He has many wonderful qualities but being the chief bug slayer is not one of them. This is a duty we share, both being as ridiculously fearful of creepy crawlies as the other.
As I stand here the irony is not lost on me. Only last night I requested a room change, due to my delightfully rustic bungalow’s bed base being eaten through by flying bugs. And while the staff laughed at me, failing to see why I couldn’t just sleep with the damn things flying and crawling at me (they no bite, no problem!) I was politely insistent and a spare room was found. So now here I stand, holding my ground having traded one type of insect for another. But this Beast was no normal insect. No, no, dear reader, this was a dirty, disgusting mouse-sized cockroach. I am not exaggerating for dramatic effect here. The cockroach was seriously the biggest one I have ever seen in my entire life. And I usually reside in tropical Queensland, Australia, where cockroach sightings are a regular occurrence.
By now I am sure you are able to grasp the dire-ness of this situation. I am generally adverse to harming animals. I do not eat animal products for this very reason. But here, I am making an exception (as I do for mosquitoes and flies!), the Beast had to be executed.
As Ricky bent over to shine the light under the bed, I crouched into position, ready to pounce. Then there was a blur of Ricky’s limbs flying into the air as a high pitched scream (Ricky’s) alerted me to the fact that it had landed on his foot. It was time for business. Having shaken the bugger off, the trigger was pulled on the deadly bug spray as my book went up and down repeatedly crushing that suckers body like a mad man. The Beast was dead.
I let out a whoop of joy, Ricky, the warrior, had a smile from ear to ear. The operation was a success. And having just finished binge watching season 6 of ‘Game of Thrones’ it was topical for us to compare our braveness to that of of the legendary John Snow facing our enemy head on and coming out the victors. Of course, with all the kafuffle, Ashton had awoken and was sitting up bleary eyed and staring at his parents in confusion. Ricky and I broke into almost manic laughter and unimpressed Ashton lay back down to resume his slumber.
The nightmare though, was not over. It had only just begun… You see, after the action had ceased and in preparing for the night ahead, we had sprayed all possible entry points of any other critters who thought it was a good idea to enter our bungalow. This turned out to be a grave mistake and the dead Beast’s family had revenge over his murder. All night long, possibly trapped in the holes we had sprayed with no way out, the family of oversized cockroaches flapped their wings and crawled around so loudly that I kept having to check they weren’t really scuttling on the floor beside our bed.
Yes, they were using the oldest form of torture in the book. Keeping us awake all night, too scared to sleep we listened to their movement above and below us. I was being driven mad. But, I suppose every cloud has a silver lining, and ours was that in lieu of sleep we researched and booked our next travel plans. We might now actually be completely booked up until… oh, this is embarrassing… September! And as we now travel onward towards Cambodia, I will miss Koh Phangan dearly, a piece of my heart will always remain there. But, on the beach, nowhere near those ‘cute’, ‘authentic’ and ‘traditionally rustic’ beach bungalows!
xx Travelling Fresh