Uninvited Guests (or Pests)

Gokarn, India – A very lazy day, none of us got up until 11:15 a.m. and only left the room at 1:30 p.m. in search of food. After our snack we took a very leisurely walk through the city back to our place, where Rich and Kate sat on the beach and I sat under the shade of the porch reading and looking at the ocean; it was too hot to do anything else.

The sun finally went down and we started our nightly walk in search of nourishment. I noticed it was darker than usual as we stumbled through the narrow street, and only when we arrived in the center of the village did I figure out there wasn’t any power. It was Tuesday so we just assumed there wasn’t any power on Tuesday. It’s funny how you just accept answers like that when you’re traveling in a Third World country.

We ate dinner by candlelight and as we were walking down the street the power came on. Popped in to a little shop for some ice cream and the power went off again – typical. After our snack we didn’t have anything better to do than walk back to the room, for everyone else in the village had deserted the streets after the second power outage; they couldn’t be bothered re-lighting all the lanterns. The power came back on again just as we returned to our room so we could at least [see what we were doing].

All was well until I spotted what would cause us much excitement that evening. Up on the back wall above Rich and Kate was a large black cockroach just taking a look around. Now, ever since Rich & I had cockroaches in our apartment in Washington D.C., I’ve never been too fond of them and as long as they’re not near me I’m O.K. Kate loathes the things, so as soon as I’d pointed it out to the two of them, she immediately jumped up and was sitting next to me on the opposite side of the room from the roach. Rich dealt with the insect, using his thong to flatten it out – leaving a black stain on the wall.

The roach was gone, so we all began to relax again, that is, until roach number two made his appearance. I picked up a T-shirt next to my sleeping bag and out from behind it crawled a huge red roach. I jumped up and immediately grabbed my lighter thinking I’d burn the thing to death. I chased it up the wall with my portable fire (insuring it wasn’t going to get back down into my sleeping bag) but it crawled into a hole in the mortar, escaping the flame. Kate was jumping around saying she couldn’t sleep until we’d killed the roach, so we sat there trying to figure out how to coax it out of its hiding place. Kate took a lit incense stick and jammed it into the hole thinking if she burned it a little the roach would come out. No dice. I moved over and peered in the hole with my lighter flame turned up as high as it would go. I guess watching me with the flame made a light bulb go off in Rich’s head because he immediately rummaged through his rucksack and pulled out a can of aerosol Old Spice deodorant. He took my lighter and fashioned one of those home made blow torches you get when you hold a flame in front of an aerosol nozzle as you spray it. I jumped across the room to where Kate was, and the two of us stood there screaming to Rich where to direct his six inch flame. He torched the hole and the roach re-appeared and made a break up the wall. Rich followed it with the flame, trying to flambe it, scaring the creature over the top of the wall into the next room. With the second roach gone we all relaxed – a little, so we just laid in our bed with the light on.

This was when the next actor in our comedy of errors appeared. Right above Kate’s head on the wall closest to her was another roach. Rich spotted it and once Kate had figured out why Rich was poised over her, thong in hand, she made her usual flying jump across the room, landing next to me. Rich took a swing at the roach but ended up just knocking it off the wall so a game of hide and seek ensued with Rich throwing everything out of his way until the roach crawled up the wall again. This time its number was up and was tossed out the door on his deathbed of one Made in Taiwan thong.

Hopefully that’s all the excitement we were going to get that evening, so we turned off the light and tried to get some rest. About twenty minutes later I heard Kate thrashing her legs around, and then her and Rich saying something. That’s when I felt something crawl off the backpack next to me onto my knee. I jumped up and started shaking out my sleeping bag to scare away the creature.

When Kate heard my quick movements she sat up in bed and screamed, “Brad! Brad! Did you feel something crawl on you?”


When she heard that she lost it and shrieked, “OH MY GOD THERE’S SOMETHING IN HERE!”

Kate was still screaming as she bounded out of bed, hitting the light switch on before climbing atop one of the backpacks. We had a look around for the creature to no avail, so we just turned out the light and hoped for the best. It’s not that bad sleeping in a room with cockroaches if you can’t hear them, the problem with our room was that the mortar between the bricks was not that good so when the roaches walked on the walls you could feel the bits of mortar fall off the wall onto your head as the roach moved along.

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