The itsy bitsy spider
Climbed up the water spout.
Down came the rain and…
In came the spider,
To my apartment.
Southeast Asia may or may not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking of massive creepy crawlers. It’s definitely up there when thinking of mosquito hotbeds. Luckily for me, I was able to avoid the majority of the flying diseased needles and other unsavory critters. One evening when riding home from dinner we saw a Thai man shooing something in the street. We pulled the bike over to check it out. It turned out to be a scorpion, just trying to cross the road. This was the only scorpion I personally ran across. One of the other teachers in our program in a different city actually found one in his room. Unpleasant.
In my room I had a nice population of geckos whose chirrups always sounded like birds to me. I also had a bit of an ant problem, as I found the majority of places with any food tended to have. I left a knife out with some leftover peanut butter on it once, and I came home to an infestation. I never could quite banish them completely after that, which was just annoying. Then one morning I received a new roommate. I didn’t even realize she had moved in at first. I woke up in the morning and went to use the toilet. When I returned to the bathroom a few minutes later to take a shower, I saw her.
Just hanging out there on the wall, mere inches from where I had just been only minutes before. With long, quick legs and a body the size of a travel dental floss container, she was the biggest spider I’d ever met in person. I became really worried as soon as I realized that I had no idea if spiders in Thailand were poisonous! So I ran to the laptop to ask the Google gods what they knew of Thai arachnids. It was a relief to learn that the new wall décor in the bathroom couldn’t kill me. I briefly considered still trying to take a shower, but she skittered across the wall and immediately made me give up that idea. Too creepy. So I went to school that day sans morning shower.
She was still there when I came home. I blocked the space underneath the bathroom door and proceeded to toss and turn all night, worrying about giant spiders invading my room.
She went away for a while, and I was hopeful that she found a new place of residence. Unfortunately, she showed up again…inside my room. At this point I’d named her Shelob The New Roommate. The New Roommate frequently hogged the bathroom, stealing my hand towel. So I had to share the shower a few times because she refused to get out. What a bitch.
A more pleasant creature that was prevalent was the frog. I love frogs, so this delighted me. At night they’d all chirp and ribbit and kill the silences between the kids zooming by on their motor bikes. In the morning they’d be all over the roads, usually squished. When I stayed outside during sunset and after dark, I’d see them all hopping about to and fro, mostly ignoring me as they went about their froggy business. I wouldn’t have minded sharing my apartment with one of these guys. Alas, I was stuck with bitchy Shelob.