The cockroach hotel. This wasn’t a themed hotel. It wasn’t a gag or a joke. Nope, this was an actual hotel. A hotel full of cockroaches. So. Many. Cockroaches.
We had just arrived in the provincial town of Udan Thani after visiting the archaeological museum and dig in Ban Chiang. We arrived by bus and immediately set about trying to find a place to stay. Options were limited. We pulled out a map and began to search. I had recently injured myself and was hobbling around with one flip flop. (Most of my traumatic stories that occurred in Asia occurred when I only had one shoe. It either says something about my intense bad luck, or perhaps about my tendency to buy cheap shoes.)
We came upon a large hotel. It was the only hotel actually that was mentioned in our guide book. And since we hadn’t seem to many hotels during our walk from the bus drop off, we figured that this would just have to do. We entered the lobby. It was large and spacious, but dark and dusty. The hotel looked as if it might have been grand back in it’s day, but now it had been abandoned to the dust and the cobwebs and the grouchy old man who sat behind the reception counter.
We dropped off our bags. The room was dirty, the bed sheets looked like they hadn’t been washed in a while, but it was only for one night right? The first thing I do in any hotel is check out the bathroom. There is nothing better than a nice, shiny, polished bathroom to relax in. I looked into the bathroom. Hole in the floor…. great…. but it’s only for one night right?
Ok, so the hotel was pretty gross. But it was only for one night, and I was determined to eat some pizza and get a food massage that evening, so we dropped off our stuff and left. I, luckily, did not open my bag, but my partner unfortunately did.
That evening we returned. I flicked on the light. Man, this room is dark. I don’t remember the walls being painted such a dark colour. Oh wait…. why are the walls moving?
It took me a while to figure out what was going on. I mean, I haven’t been in many other situations where the walls have had more insects on them than paint. The black walls began to quiver, to shake, and suddenly… to run… or should I say… scuttle. I did the first thing that any respectable adult would do. I jumped up on the bed and started screaming.
The cockroaches began to stampede. They moved like one giant mass of insects. Coming off the walls, jumping from the curtains, running out from under the bed, and en mass they ran back to where they came from. Back to where they came from….. which was down the hole in the bathroom floor which was also the toilet. That’s right. The room had been invaded…….. by toilet cockroaches.
My partner had unfortunately opened his bag before we left for dinner. We now had to spend the next agonizing hour emptying each item out of his backpack, stopping to shake out the roaches, and then grabbing the next item. Grab… de-roach… repeat. I all the while did what any super helpful and brave girlfriend would do. I stood on the bed and screamed.
But hey… it’s just for one night right? WRONG. Even as one of the cheapest backpackers in Asia, there was no way in hell I was staying one moment longer in the roach hotel.