Life on the Mekong and Other Rivers

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog, including strong statements in support of weinerdog-riding monkeys, are our own, and not those of the U.S. Department of State or the U.S. government.

Sunday, December 06, 2009


There is a spider that seems to be quite common here. It's flat, and gets rather large, but we are told it is not dangerous, so we generally leave them go about their business. It is a bit jarring every now and then to walk into a room and see a big ol' spider just hanging out on the wall.

We've had a few other spiders that aren't flat that we just assume would bite us if given half the chance. In Laos we tried to get spiders out of the house alive because it is bad luck there to kill a spider indoors and Vone probably would not have let us kill them. No one here has said it is bad luck to kill spiders. Thus, the non-flat ones get the shoe, or the book, or whatever is handy.

About a week ago at work I was getting my allergy pills out of my backpack. Backpack in lap I grabbed the pill bottle and twisted off the top. Just then I see two or three black and yellow legs emerging from my backpack onto the hand holding the pill bottle.

I jumped, and sent my pills in an arc across the office. After regaining my composure and picking up as many pills as I could, I dumped the entire contents of my bag onto the floor and sifted through it, but didn't see the spider again.

Today it was Katherine's turn as she was unpacking a few last odds and ends. A quick little (not so little) spider popped out at her. Being a resourceful lass, she called to her husband to come handle the thing. It was the least I could do. It is our 6th anniversary today.

A spider that Jack has named Pete hangs out along the floor boards in the hallway to our bedrooms. He's a flat one, so you know, not dangerous. At least that's what we've been told. Jack always wants to touch it. We keep saying no, we leave spiders alone and spiders leave us alone. I guess my smashing the other spider with a shoe sent a mixed message to Jack, but what are you going to do.

Anyway, Pete was back this afternoon. Not a great picture. A little blurry, which makes Pete look much less menacing.

Here's a close-up.

For anyone with a fear of spiders (you'd think they'd have a special name for that. It is quite common. Maybe make a movie about it or something) rest assured that Pete and the rest of our "good" spiders leave us alone. The bad spiders get the shoe. So you'd be safe visiting.

Speaking of creepy crawlies, I was talking to our guards today about what is around the yard. Have you ever seen any snakes, I asked. Our day guard shook his head no, but our night guard (it was shift change so they were both there changing clothes) said "oh, yes. I saw one about 2 months ago back by the generator."

What kind of snake, I asked.

"oh, a little one. the red kind," he said, holding up his index finger to show the size of the snake.

So a small little yard snake, I thought. Is it poisonous, I asked.

"Oh, yes. Very," said he.

But he assured me that they are rare and only come out at night. And, he killed it and threw it over the fence. So problem solved.


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