Throughout my travels, I’ve run into many varieties of creepy crawlies that make their way into my chamber of rest. Geckos, rats, mice, ants, spiders, cockroaches and – of course – mosquitoes. Usually it’s no big deal or is merely an annoyance. A few nights ago, my first night in Hpa An, I had some *ahem* guests that truly scarred me.
I’d gotten my room at the Soe Brothers’ Guesthouse in Hpa An and was pretty happy with it. It was better than the room I’d had in the Breeze Guesthouse previously, and I felt like the town would be enjoyable as well. I was happy. That night, I snuggled down with a bellyful of tasty Burmese food and tried to go to sleep.
I have an overactive imagination, so when I felt a tiny thing crawling on me, I chalked it up to a cruel mental ploy to keep me from sleeping. I tried my best to ignore it.
After a few half-hearted slaps and scratches, I really went for one of the ‘imaginary’ culprits and was rewarded with a juicy, popping feeling. Huh. Guess there really was a mosquito. From the juiciness, I figured he’d been the little bugger that had been sucking me dry. With the nuisance gone, I could finally sleep…
…until AGAIN I felt something crawling on me. This little game went on for a while. With each one I slain, I figured that would be the last and I would be free from the insects’ incessant bugging. However, after my fifth victim was ground to a pulp between my fingertips, I figured I might as well turn the light on so I could finish all of them off in one bloody spree.
When the fluorescent light flickered on and bathed the tiny room in a sickly glow, I realized my mistake. These weren’t mosquitoes. It was a freakin’ horde of bed bugs. Half-asleep, disgusted, and craving vengeance, I set about killing every one I saw. I killed them on the sheet, under the sheet, on the pillow, under the pillow, under the mattress, on the wall, on the ceiling… it went on. Most spurted crimson when they popped, which only ticked me off further. These things had been feeding on me for over a few hours!!
Finally, it set in. There was no end. I couldn’t kill them all. I opened up my bag and pulled out my handy tent. Unfortunately, the room was so small I couldn’t set it up. Instead, I crawled inside and zipped it shut after ensuring I was free of any vampiric passengers. I spent the night like that: curled on the floor, wrapped in a synthetic cocoon, fingers still covered with the guts of well over 30 bed bugs and my own blood. As much as I felt like it, I just couldn’t bring myself to suck my thumb that night.
I didn’t sleep much.
To the Soe Brothers’ credit, when I told them they promptly moved me to a different room ALL the way down the hall from the other. This time, I checked everywhere for even a sign of something crawly. Nothing. I nodded my assent to the employee and plopped my stuff down. That night, I only had to deal with a single mosquito. He died soon enough 🙂
Moral of the story: always check a room before you stay there. You never know how many other ‘guests’ have already taken up residence!