Tag Archives: spiders

Creepy crawlies?

Are you scared of insects. I hear this a lot – especially when putting together vacations in exotic and tropical locations. People want beach, they want sand, they want heat – but they don’t want creepy crawlies. I can understand that, especially if you are not used to them. I could always understand people being scared of spiders or moths or lizards but I could never understand the fear of ants. How to deal with ants in your motel room? One customer years ago had a plague on ants in her motel in Disneyland so she used her toothpaste to seal up the baseboards in her room. Another vacationer to the Cook Islands was so terrified of the insects that hotel staff put a guard at her door. And possibly one of the first questions I get asked about a safari is “will there be any spiders or bugs?”

Fortunately growing up in Africa has raised my tolerance level quite a bit so I am pretty unfazed by spiders, lizards, ants even snakes. I was however pretty surprised to read a report of a passenger on a flight from Toronto to Calgary who was bitten by a scorpion. https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/scorpion-air-transat-flight-1.5050236

Boy I bet she didn’t expect that! No wonder she was so freaked out – and I would be too – even having grown up in Africa. A scorpion is not a nice thing to find in your sweater. Even the flight attendant was amazed as she tried to persuade the passenger it was just a gum wrapper.

Now where the heck did that come from? Someone in my office guessed that it might be someone’s support animal gone astray? Someone else guessed that it was one of those touristy paper weights but that it wasn’t quite dead. Someone else mused that maybe it came aboard in a bunch of grapes – but then I thought who the heck gets grapes on a flight from Toronto to Calgary? Someone else thought that maybe it stowed away on the flight – hoping for a better life… in Alberta??

Nothing quite like a creepy crawlie to stir things up. Arriving as new immigrants to South Africa many years ago we were greeted by more insects than we were used to in England. The funny thing was, it was my Mom who was the Insect Warrior. While us kids screamed and ran away and my Dad stood on a chair my mom would stride into the bedroom and find that pesky spider and just batter the life out of it.

R.I.P. Mr Spider

Would you like bugs with that?

bugBugs can be a deal-breaker. Just as you have that tropical package all sewn up and ready to go THAT question jumps up. “Er, do you think there will be bugs there?”. Well, it’s Costa Rica. Pretty good chance of there being bugs. Same thing in Belize, or Mexico or Africa. Bugs kinda like hanging out in hot tropical humid destinations.

What is it about bugs that most of us don’t like?  Is it because they are small or that they scuttle (shudder) or just that they look so strange?  Maybe it is because we don’t like the idea of them creeping up on us and looking for one of those warm humid places they like so much!  When you see them in the jungle that’s no so bad.  After all that is their natural habitat.  But when you see them in your natural habitat – well that’s just freaky.spider toilet

I once had people come back from Anaheim telling me how their vacation was totally ruined because the room was full of bugs.  Upon examination it turned out that the bugs were actually ants – and I agree that is annoying.  When I asked if they had advised the management they said they sorted it out themselves by plugging up the ant holes with toothpaste….. mmmm – novel approach.  I wonder if the mint in the toothpaste made the ants’ eyes water.

And I must admit having been guilty of bug-fear too (before I was cured that is).  I spent an entire two nights at Umgazi River Bungalows on the Transkei Coast in South Africa just petrified of falling asleep in case one of the geckos on the thatch ceiling fell on me.  I learnt very quickly that you can get used to anything in time.  It’s so tiring being scared all the time, really!

And ignorance is bliss – young children haven’t learnt to be scared yet but copy our reactions.  So when I found my young son sitting on the doorstep in Africa with the remains of a huge millipede scattered over his bib I just had to merrily say “Oh dear – what have you been up to?” while I got rid of the debris.

We call the millipede a Shongololo in South Africa

We call the millipede a Shongololo in South Africa

Double shudder.