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I spent 20 years punching a time clock... then decided there had to be another way. Right now I'm sitting in a comfortable chair on a beautiful beach. There's a sweet, soft breeze in the air. In front of me, on the clear blue water, a boat drifts by. Maybe I'll go snorkeling this afternoon, or work on my tan. This is my kind of tropical paradise... cheap and unspoiled!
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By Ken Silver About Asia
2632 Views | 5 Comments | 4/29/2013 3:12:23 PM

I entered the racetrack bar. Outside the picture window, the horses were approaching the starting gate for race number 5. Johnny ‘Sideways’ Jones leaned towards me, nearly spilling his drink…

“You’ll see, Ken. The whole world will see! When the global software program called Tom Turkey2 pulls the switch… pulls the switch for world wide human extermination… pulls the switch for Pest Control Day… on that day, all bets are off!”

I leaned forward.

“On that day”…

“Yes?” His voice dropped to a whisper… then he slammed his fist down on the old wooden bar! “I tell you, on Pest Control Day only the roaches will survive!” He tossed back his drink.

I shuddered. Only the roaches will survive Pest Control Day! That must explain why Southeast Asia has so many –I tell it straight - “Bugs”.

Oh, pardon me, I meant to say insects. Insects, those border hopping beacons of Diversity!

In Southeast Asia you get all the bugs you need, and then a few million more. When you work up an appetite from swatting and stepping on them you can go to a restaurant and eat them.

The worst insects for me are those eighteen footers that drop from the trees and wrap themselves around you and – oh wait, that’s a snake! I get “no legs”, and “six legs”, confused a lot.

Anyhow, yeah lots of bugs over here. The big water bugs that scurry across the restaurant floor are unaesthetic enough. It took me a while to realize that instead of shrieking like a girl I could simply step on them.

Bedbugs are more disturbing. Wake up in the middle of the night, hit the light switch, and see a dozen or more advancing on the bed blanket toward you.

They are coming to drink your blood!

Scientists say they don’t spread diseases, so chuckle, and stay calm, as they advance with robotic vampire motion, and tell yourself calmly that as animal attacks go they rank way below crocodile. Then, calmly, get a tissue and, calmly, squeeze the little bastards till your own (hopefully) blood gushes out of them and you hear them burning in Hell...

Considering the bed bug birth rate, if some mad scientist figures out how to design them to transmit disease we are all screwed.

Of course, there are beautiful insects over here also, and you don’t even have to pay to spend time with them! Well, actually you do. Fireflies can be found both hither and yon, with expensive tours to “Firefly Metropolis” on a river south of Bangkok; “Firefly Nirvana” on a jungle river in Borneo, and “Firefly Summer Cottage” in trees along country roads in Krabi, Thailand.

Gorgeous butterflies and moths abound also. Big ones, blotting out the sun and full moon, even when I am sober.

And then there are mosquitoes. Potentially, they are very bad news. They do spread disease, and it seems recently they have gotten a lot more enthusiastic about it. There is malaria in Southeast Asia, but it is not that prevalent; the big, increasing problem is mosquito bite transmission of Dengue Fever.

I have seen medical articles stating that as many as one in four tropical travelers around the world get dengue. Most cases are mild, which accounts for the lack of accurate diagnosis. The bad cases feel like “you are being murdered for a week, continuously.” A good friend in Thailand got it not once but twice, and to add to the agony there are four different strains of dengue. Catching one strain and then another, will increases the severity of the second episode. Thankfully, the good Thai doctors saved him.

There is no vaccine, so really hard core mosquito repellent, at least 33% Deet, is a must. Hell, use near 100%. Buy it at home, as it is hard to get really good repellent in third world countries, oddly enough. Use night and day, as dengue flies by day, usually, and malaria flies by night, usually. Wear long sleeved shirts and pants when bearable.


Senor, I kill them one by one.

Maybe I got to speed up a little?

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
(Showing 1 to 5 of 5) 1
#2013-04-29 15:02:53 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Ken, as moderator for CLM/ALM, I have to tell you that I smile when I see one of your blogs show up. They're always entertaining, and this is one of the best.

There are two different points in this blog where I simply laughed out loud. And I have a fairly dry sense of humor; I'm not a "laugh out loud" kind of guy.

So first, I'd like to challenge the readers of this blog to add a comment indicating what things really tickled their funnybones, just to see if others are getting you the way I think I am.

On a semi-serious note, if 1 out of 4 visitors to the tropics are getting dengue fever, then I guess those of us living there (or who have lived there long term) are FACKED!! Having lived in South China where there are signs everywhere you go saying "Avoid Mosquitoes. They carry Dengue Fever", I assume I've had it a time or two but, luckily, I must have suffered mild cases.

Last thing, where exactly is the location of the signs in the top picture. There must be a damned good bar somewhere nearby.

#2013-04-30 00:00:36 by canadianmike @canadianmike

Ugh.... Insects. If there is one thing that makes my skin crawl, it's the things that crawl on my skin. Especially at night, when I'm sleeping and I'm *positive* they are feasting on me and whispering in my ear to reprogram my thoughts on world leaders. Your comment on the bugs in restaurants was funny until the realization that I too squeal like a Japanese school girl when I see a spider. The larger/hairier the spider, the higher the octave I reach. That was worsened when you continued with your bed bug blabbing. The upside is that I will travel with a good, non-toxic bug repellent. The downside... I may never sleep again. ;)

#2013-04-30 08:48:10 by twilightsmith @twilightsmith

Thanks for the good words!
As for the location of that are absolutely correct...truer words never spoken... it is in Pattaya, Thailand, near the beach road, and yes, there are a solar systems worth of damned good bars there!

#2013-05-03 21:17:06 by kahnsfury @kahnsfury

See if you had the rats like we do in guangzhou you wouldn’t have the bug problem. These suckers could probably give a croc a run for his money. Good to see you are still around Ken.

#2013-05-06 18:45:49 by woaizhongguo @woaizhongguo

Thanks Ken for bringing us the lighter side of bugs. Not to be the stinkbomb at the prom, but there is a serious side as well. In Chiang Mai, several foreign tourists have died because of the spray that was used to rid their hotel rooms of bed bugs. Between death and bed bugs, give me bed bugs any day.

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