the Vernon Journal

Serving the Kingdom in Southeast Asia


All of you now know that we are living in a bamboo house (see our pictures). There are, of course, many gaps and openings for any number of things to get into our home but generally we do not have problems with bugs or lizards or anything bothering us. The great thing about the open air environment is that little critters can get out as easily as they can get in. And, as the saying goes, they're more scared of us than we are of them. While that old saying is generally true, it becomes irrelevant if the intruder is a spider, for there Lori and I share a common phobia. In Colorado, especially in Golden, we came across a number of Black Widows in our time and quite honestly the idea that something so small can be that dangerous was enough to set a pretty permanent fear in us. It was really the only thing we hoped to avoid when were moving to Thailand (well, that and Lori had this thing about leeches, which by the way is another story you should ask me about sometime).

So the other day we were cleaning the sawdust left from all the insects who are slowly eating our home from our containers (we keep everything in containers for cleanliness, dust and bugs) when Lori very animantly called me over with a "Oh my goodness there is a huge spider". I had heard this statement before and my common response question of "how big?" was caught in my throat as I saw an enormous spider on our shelf, almost eye-level to Lori. It probably would have fit very comfortably in the palm of my hand, although I don't believe I ever could survive such and experience.

But worst of all, worse than the giant spider, was the fact that it was holding beneath its body a sac of eggs about the size of an old 50-cent piece. We went about talking how to kill it but it was very fast and after a number of attempts to smash it and trap it, it ended up on one of the posts that supports our house. We swung at it but it circled the post and ended up on a bamboo beam that goes over our bed. An interesting thing about bamboo. Because it is hollow you can tap on it like a drum, and as that spider raced across the beam over our bed we could hear every step it took clicking on the bamboo. Of course it was a brave moment for us, Lori began screaming and I ducked away as the spider crossed into our living room.

It was at this point Lori decided we needed help. She ran out to the village and told the first woman she saw that there was a large something (we don't know the word for spider) in our home that needed to be killed. The woman asked "How Big?" and Lori put her hands in a circle. The woman screamed to the men in the village and four of them jumped up, grabbed huge sticks and came racing to our house. Lori was very impressed at their exuberance.

However, when they arrived in our home to find me threatening a spider their excitement faded. You see, they thought we had a four-inch diameter snake in our home. They knocked the spider down and killed it with their sticks (see it really was that big) and left quite humored by the "Pa La"s.

Now we're just scared of enormous snakes.

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