Challenge: The Return of the Cockroach

Okay, to be honest, this challenge should be called Jason vs. Cockroaches, but I’m the one writing this, so too bad for him.

So, I hate cockroaches. To see part 1 of how much I hate cockroaches, go here. I know that some people deal with this as a natural part of their daily lives, and don’t write maybe 120,000 words about it, but those people are clearly superior to me. Congratulations! It’s not hard, so don’t feel too great about it.

I was in the southern part of Thailand for 10 days at the beginning of January and I was in the sticks, people. I was staying about 30 km outside of the city of Surat Thani, in the middle of nowhere, where apparently they have buried nuclear waste that produces a ridiculous number of huge insects.

Beautiful out there, though I missed civilization. The 7-11 was 2km away, and that is just not a sustainable way to live your life in Thailand. Where was I supposed to get snacks, the field outside the apartment?

One night, I’m in the bedroom and Jason’s near the front door of the apartment, and he says in this certain tone of voice, “Stay in the bedroom.”

This ‘stay in the bedroom’ had an incredibly serious—yet casual!—tone to it, and I just knew I should actually listen to what I was being told for once. Because I just knew.

I just knew that meant there was a ginormous mega-mutant tropical cockroach in the apartment.

I stay in the bedroom, my heart slowly sinking to my toes, and I hear some cursing and running around and Jason says, “Shit. It got away.” I’m like, OH GREAT. Now there’s going to be a giant tropical cockroach running around the apartment and I won’t be able to see it. GREAT.

In my infinite wisdom, I decide at that point that I should pick my suitcase up off the floor of the bedroom and move it onto the desk in the bedroom because giant tropical cockroaches obviously do not make the effort to crawl up that far (SHUT UP, PERSON WHO IS GOING TO CONTRADICT THIS. I KNOW I’M BEING DELUSIONAL). When I pick up the bag, Jason’s eyes get big and he says, without realizing it, “Oh.”

“WHAT ‘OH’?” I’m so bad I’m hoping he’s going to say it’s a mouse. That would be awesome.

“Uhhh…” he says, clearly trying to think up a lie, “there was a spider.”

“Really?!” I ask, feeling hopeful, my heart lifting in my chest. I don’t like spiders, but at least they serve a purpose in life, which is to kill other insects, and I respect that in a bug. (Dear Nerds: I realize that spiders aren’t bugs. Now go back to your D&D game and learn how to talk to girls, thank you. And, NO, your mom is not an acceptable substitute.)

“No,” he says, with finality.

Seriously, how many times do I have to be smacked down before I realize that optimism is not the route for me? Pessimistic English majors UNITE!

Dear god. For those of you keeping count in our viewing audience, that means there are now TWO giant cockroaches loose in the apartment we’re staying in. And those are only the ones I can see.

So I screech, “Oh my god, you have to kill it!”

And he looks at me and says, simply, “I kind of don’t want to.”

Let me say, this man is not a wimp about this kind of stuff. When we were walking through the jungle and heard there were leeches everywhere, he said, ‘Hey, will you let me take a picture if one gets on you? It’ll be awkward to try to take a picture of myself.’ I was like, ‘Have you lost your mind?! If a leech attaches to me, I’ll be freaking out and flailing around.’ Which is exactly what happened. I freaked out and flailed around, so he had to take a picture of the leech on himself.

These leeches at Khao Sok National Park were INSANE. They went through our socks to get to our blood. Gross..

He’s routinely taking pictures of bugs he finds interesting while I’m standing 10 feet away, staring intently at my water bottle, just kind of hoping I won’t have to act like I want to see the bugs, because that is a challenge I routinely fail, and it doesn’t make me feel good about myself.

Anyway, Jason’s that kind of guy. So when he told me he didn’t want to kill the roach, I figured that it must be a real doozy. Like, a rape-and-pillage-the-village kinda roach. The kind that would just look you in the eyes and steal your baby for fun and you wouldn’t be able to do anything about it because you wouldn’t want it to also take you away and hold you for ransom.

But at this point, I’ve reached panic mode and I’m like, “OH MY GOD! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? YOU HAVE TO KILL IT!” I even jump up on the bed to illustrate how serious I am about this.


Feminism FAIL.

So, he gets a kitchen knife and grimly goes after the cockroach that has now run into the kitchen area. I don’t know why he chose the knife and I don’t care. He’s like Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, and I’m like Tom Cruise, only I’m not a Scientologist: I’m not going to question his methods because I’m just glad he’s there.

There’s a thwack thwack thwack…and a few more thwack thwack thwacks…and finally it’s done.

Repeat this scenario again a few minutes later, only with me first running shrieking back into the bedroom after spotting the first roach near the front door, which was far bigger than any roach I’ve ever seen in my life.

And go ahead and repeat it a few more times over the course of the weekend. Before I could leave the bedroom, I would throw open the door with my eyes kind of half-closed and say, “Is there anything out there?”


Seriously, it must be amazing to be with me.

This goes on for a day or two until Jason buys bug spray and also goes on a cleaning rampage in our temporary apartment. I begged him not to tell me about the carnage until we left.

Turns out it was a serious horror movie. You know the movie Arachnophobia? Like that, only with roaches. There was this weird digester box under the kitchen sink that the water drains into (I don’t really get it), and apparently when he opened it up, it was completely full of what seemed to be hundreds of cockroaches. He bombed it with the spray and when he closed the lid, he could hear them scuttling around, trying to get out.

Oh god. I am not exaggerating when I say I feel a little faint right now.

After that, they tried to escape from the shower drain and the other drain on the floor in the bathroom, so he had to hit the drains with the bug spray, as well.

It seemed to help. And by “help” I mean “I still have nightmares about it”.

Final Score:

Cockroaches: 0  Megan: 0  Jason: 1 (Jason just informed me I might want to make that number bigger, but I’m ignoring him. DENIAL, PEOPLE! It’s not just a river in Egypt; it’s a way of life!)



Filed under Living Abroad, Special Challenge, Thailand, Trips

20 responses to “Challenge: The Return of the Cockroach

  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Challenge: The Return of the Cockroach | Bangkok Reality Smackdown --

  2. My god I’m glad you are here to avert the cockroaches because I loathe them as much as you. Keep up the good work, Megan, ur, Jason. . .I feel queasy. Oh but I see you have written about sweet corn desserts. Let the queasy times roll!!!

  3. Fred

    With you. 100%. Where can I find my own Jason? Is there a online male-order website?

    I have an additional learning for you. Cockroaches like to hide in dark places.

    A black sock coming out of a black trouser leg carelessly placed in the midst of a herd of cockroaches looks like roach paradise to the average roach – until that leg leaps out of the house, and down the sunlit road, flailing like a . a . . well, let’s go with flail.

    I looked like a gymnast, hopping down the road at 200 mph with the other foot weaving a graceful series of arcs around my waist.

    Although I’m not sure gymnasts are normally expected to scream quite so much.

    Roaches are evil – and round here, so large, you can actually see their smile as they cause your potentially fatal arrhythmia …

    • Oh, Fred, I’m sure there are male-order websites! :)

      Your story is cracking me up! Disturbing me, but cracking me up!

      And roaches *are* evil, aren’t they? Little bastards…

  4. The leech thing freaks me out to no end and yet I can’t stop scrolling up to that photo. I sense a nightmare coming on tonight…

    When I went on a road trip back in August, I saw one of the biggest roaches I have ever seen my first day in Cairns. Brooke and I were getting ready for bed, when I spotted one on the wall just above my bed. I have no idea where I got the crazy idea I was brave enough to do something about it (and I can’t recall what I did), but the thing dropped from the wall to my pillow, scurried across it (*shiver*), across my bed, and the dropped to the floor where it ran under Brooke’s bed. We shrieked. I ran to reception and told the woman what happened. She gave me their vacuum cleaner. I returned to the room and showing no mercy, sucked the thing up while Brooke somehow moved the bed so I could chase it.

    Here’s to Jason — may you live roach free from this moment forward.

    • *shudder* Across the pillow? Oh, for the love..I’m impressed you’re even alive. I would have just curled up in the fetal position and given up on life, right then and there.

      Kudos to you two!

  5. Can you hear me wretching from across the Pacific? Perhaps I no longer wish to visit your country!!

    I was at my kid’s preschool the other day when a kid notified the teacher there was a bug in her lunch box. (Teacher’s assistant is terrified of all bugs and her eyes got huge, even though she was across the room.) It was a COCKROACH. So they just zip up the lunch box, roach inside, and tell her no snack for her that day. I am NEVER having a play date at their house!!!

  6. OK…I totally get the importance of 99,9% of species on the planet…the 0.01% is dedicated to cockroaches and rats…seriously, get me near one and my heart stops…right there! When I was extremely little (barely walking), we were living in a neighborhood which was, let’s say, not very clean (but the rent was cheap)…and Mom says I used to pick up those damn bugs and try to eat (yes, EAT) them…was I retarded? how can something like that look even remotely like food? I still get the chills down my back. I hate Hate HATE cockroaches (and rats)…sadly it is said that if a nuclear was hits, cockroaches (and Cher) will survive. Until then, let’s find a way to ELIMINATE them (send them to outer space or something – the Sun would be appropriate to fry them *evil laughter* )

    • I know! That’s how I feel, too–I understand that a lot of gross things are important to the world, so even though I don’t love them, I’ll deal with them. Cockroaches, though? What’s the point?! NONE!

      Ha–that’s hilarious that you used to try to eat them. Just goes to show that kids will eat anything…

    • Fred

      Send Cher to outer space?
      Are you sure?
      She would survive, return with space-superpowers, and you’d have made her cranky.

      A cranky space-powered Cher would defeat any cockroach yet invented.

  7. Jess

    Jason is our hero! Thank you for saving Megan! We love her too much to lose her to gross cockroachness!!

  8. Lee

    I’m not afraid of anything, except roaches. Snakes, no problem, rats, no big deal, but the threat of having a roach come up the drain while I’m in the shower…or fly and land on me? Oh and I live in Texas, so I’ve seen some big ones. Still, I bet the ones over there are bigger. I’m thinking I will have to save some serious money for a trip to SE Asia. Would an expensive hotel save me? Yes, I’m a pathetic wuss. Between the roaches and the toilet situation in your previous post (which cracked me up) I’m thinking five star…..

    • Oh yeah, I always turn on the bathroom light when I go in in the middle of the night. I think if a roach crawled across my foot I would just curl up and die.

      I don’t know if the expensive hotels would help–I suppose to a certain extent, yes, but I live in a pretty pricey, new building and I still see them around every now and then. Yick.

  9. Baygon makes a good spray for killing Thai cockroaches. Another weapon I just discovered today is from a company called “ARS”. It’s a fumigator. You set it in a cup of water and all this smoke comes out of it. Make sure you close up your room and get the hell out for a few hours before coming back. That sucker seeks-and-destroys every last one of those mofos!

    If they are coming up your drains, the best thing is to get a bottle of chlorine bleach and routinely pour some of it down the drains. The floor drain should have a little “moat” thingy around the ring of the opening, so pouring some in there will keep the bastards from storming your bathroom. But of course, if you are out in “baan nok” you might not have a proper drain cover.

    The Thais know chlorine bleach by the brand name “Haiter”. It is pronounced “High-tuhrrrrrr.”

    Squashing roaches is not recommended because it will spread their eggs around.

    Another good solution is this roach chalk you can get for about 10 baht. You draw a line on the floor with it, and if the roaches walk over it they die. So try drawing a circle around the drains, a box around your fridge, and lines around entryways to your place.

    And if you ever have to refer to roaches when speaking to Thais, they may not know what a roach is. You have to say “malaeng saab”. This is pronounced “mah-leng saab” (like the car).

    I’m not sure what the pink thai bunnies and feminism have to do with roaches, but it was a cool pic anyway. Hot chicks don’t need feminism though. In fact, they eschew it.


    • Thanks for the tips! I’ve heard of the chalk, which sounds kind of magical. Luckily the roaches aren’t in my real apartment; it was a place I was staying at for work. That’s good and bad, I guess.

      I don’t think pink Thai bunnies and feminism have anything do with roaches, really, but I do disagree that hot chicks don’t need feminism. I’d say the opposite! :)

  10. The chalk isn’t magical. Roaches breathe through their “skin,” and this chalk attaches to them quickly, effectively making them die within seconds of walking over it.

    On a side note, why do hot chicks need feminism when they can easily take advantage of dozens of dumb, horny guys who will throw money, cars, cocktails, and anything else they want their way thinking it will help them get laid? Most hot chicks I know don’t have to do anything because guys are dumb enough to do everything for them. Hell, in Thailand most I know have an address book full of guys they can contact to get anything they need done.

    If anything, it’s the stupid guys that need help.


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