So as you all may or may not know, I am working for a family right now up in the rainforest town of Kuranda in the capacity of a woofer. (What is a Woofer?) Anyway, it has been a pretty cool and interesting experience so far. Their house is built right on the edge of the rainforest so when you step onto the back deck, the rainforest is staring you right in the face along with all the tropical birds, bugs, and everything else you would picture in a rainforest.My room is located in the back corner of the house and its outward walls are 95% glass so I have an un-inhibited view of this beautiful area.
In my previous emails I had been telling you that I was being warned about the size of spiders in Queensland but I had yet to see one. I did have an interesting experience the other night that I am sure many of you arachnophobes will appreciate. I had just come back from doing some bushwalking around the area and stepped into my room. There, sitting like the king of a castle on the window immediately above my pillow was a spider, slightly smaller than the size of a spare tire… (Ok fine, roughly the size of a cd). He seemed to have settled in quite nicely to his new home and was merely waiting to introduce himself as my new roommate.
Perhaps I should take a step back here and explain to you that these people I am staying with do not believe in killing bugs. I found this out upon my arrival at their house, as I was inquiring about the lack of screens on the windows.I was informed they encourage most anything to come flying, crawling, or scampering into their house as they intentionally neglect to put screens in their windows! There are spider webs in the corners, geckos on the walls, and lord knows what under the fridge! They especially like the bats that come in the house at night to eat some of the ‘less desirable bugs’. (?!)
Getting back to the story: I calmly put my stuff down and returned to the dinner table. A few minutes into tea, I said, “Hey Bazz, I have a new roommate, want to see?” (Yes that is his name; what can I say? They live in the rain forest!) He walked into the room, laughed and asked if I wanted it out. Glad that he did not give me another lecture on the benefits of having the hairy eight legged beasts in the house, I simply gave a macho nod. He then showed me the art of capturing them using a glass cup from the kitchen table and a postcard. The technique requires very slow movement with a quick burst of speed as the particular spider in my room was a huntsman spider. Being a professional, he caught it on his first try, using a postcard that I later mailed to Mom, and released it outside by flinging it out of the cup.
Fast forward to 3 hours later on that night I was doing some reading and writing in my travel journal when out of the corner of my eye, I noticed something scurry across my floor onto the door next to my bed. Feeling the creepy crawly tingles start to move across my body, I watched it slowly walk towards me, up the wall, pause and wiggle a foreleg in a mock hello. The beast then proceeded on its trek across the glass, past my shoulder, and stop at the same spot his younger brother had been.
I quickly vacated the area, grabbed my flashlight, and jumped off the bed heading for the kitchen hoping to find a very, very large cup. The house was completely dark, save for some moonlight streaming in through the window and whilst standing in the door frame I could hear the scratchings of a multitude of bugs as they scampered about the floor, feasting on the crumbs of our dinner. Shuddering at what I imagine I am walking through, I took a deep breath and flicked the light on.
So you know when kids are up late at night (when they should be sleeping) having lots of fun, jumping on the bed, hitting eachother with pillows etc until the parental figure comes into the room and hits the light?And how the kids immediately freeze, thinking that they somehow cannot be seen.Well I think these bugs had the same thought as they all paused and looked (yes looked!) at me as if I was busting them for being up to late and having a party.And like the kids in my example, after a few heartbeats of being frozen, they all scrambled for the nearest cover.You could actually hear their legs pumping as they peeled out on the wood floors
Anyway, recovering from my surprise at invading a bug birthday party, I grabbed a large cup from the dishwasher, my post card, and thus began the hunt. Coming back into my room I did not see the beast where I had left him; so kindly guarding my pillow. Instead he was up the wall eating one of his younger brothers; one of the many other smaller varieties of spiders in my room.
Mustering up the courage I crept over to the window to make my first attempt at nabbing him. I leaned in closer… pausing… leaning… closer… almost there… almo… !
Yes, you read that correctly, over my shoulder (thank the good Lord) and onto the floor. Now this got my heart beating like AC/DC’s drummer on crack because I had a fantastic visual of what it would have been like to have him land on my face and give me a big wet spidey kiss with his hairy mandibles.
What followed (I’ll shorten it cause I can see this already getting long) was a series of my trying to put the cup over him (which was tough because he was bigger than the top of it), him darting this way and that. Me trying different strategies to get him in until finally I did it. He scrambled around in the back of the cup, causing all sorts of fun “spider feet” noises on glass (you could actually hear his feet on the glass!). This made the hair on the back of my neck stand up straight and goosebumps roll across my skin like a nervous ocean. Then I slowly walked to the front door, removed the post card, and flung him out of the cup in one motion. (I didn’t want him to jump out again, he may have went for the face.) Had it been my glass that I had him captured in I would have thrown the whole thing out the window but I figured that wasn’t a good way to improve relations between my host and I.
Walking back to my room, I was again the unfortunate intruder on the bugs midnight celebration and witnessed the frantic scramblings of some of the strangest and largest bugs I had ever seen, I looked up and saw my next roommate, a 7 inch gecko. At this I just shrugged my shoulders apologetically as I may have tossed his dinner out into the street.I then thoroughly inspected my room for the first two spiders’ mommy or daddy as it appeared to be Huntsman night at my room and would not have been surprised to see them dancing on my pillow. I turned off the lights to fall asleep but realized this was futile as I was so worked up from all the nights excitement that I needed to take three sleeping pills to fall asleep as one simply wouldn’t do it.
As I was drifting off to sleep, I noticed a green glow coming from the window above my head. Thinking it was the hallucinations of too many night-night pills I tried to fall asleep. Curiosity got the best of me so I inspected this new addition to my crazy night and noticed that it was a bug that whenever it moved, generated a green light from its backside. Then whenever it stopped, the light would slowly fade away. I watched him for awhile but eventually feel asleep to nightmares of spiders overrunning my room and carrying me off into the night.