The Cockroaches Of Vietnam


I’ve been to Vietnam only once in my life and I’ll have you know that it was an unforgettable experience.

We were there on a school trip to aid a children’s foundation, so it was all for a good cause. But I think it was quite a failed trip, because out of the six days that we were in Vietnam, we only managed to do about half a day’s worth of community service. The rest of the time was spent, shopping, sightseeing and eating.

Anyway, what I really want to talk about was our hotel. Due to the fact that we were ‘students’, and on a “budget”, we were booked into a three star hotel by our school. All of  were extremely sceptical about the state of the hotel because we’re all a bunch of spoilt brats and that’s how we roll.

We paired off, two to a room and started unpacking.

Two days later, something happened. It altered us beyond recognition. And it happened to me first.

We had just come back from dinner and shopping, and had retired to our rooms. I decided to take a shower, on account of how humid Vietnam was. I put on my flip flops (no way was I stepping into a foreign bathroom without any protection for my feet), took my shampoo, soap and conditioner, and headed into the bathroom.

What I saw made my heart skip a beat.

For a second, I stood there, frozen with fear and shock. And then I opened my mouth and let out a bloodcurdling scream worthy of a B-grade movie.

I had seen a cockroach.

A COCKROACH.

I ran out of the bathroom, yelling unintelligible words at the top of my lungs.

“AHHH OH MY GOD OH MY GOD WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE I JUST SAW A COCKROACH YOU GUYS OH MY GOD!”

I flung my door open, and pounded on everyone’s door, screaming about said cockroach. Everyone opened their door hurriedly, and asked me why I was shouting like a three year old having a tantrum.

I could barely get the words out; I was that terrified and upset.

I explained as best as I could, and expressions of fear and horror crossed everyone’s faces. They looked at me, concerned for my well-being, and astounded that I had gotten away from the monster unscathed.

I calmed down after a few minutes (although I still had an unmistakeable tremor in my voice), and said the words everyone had been dreading.

“We have to get rid of it. But I’m not touching it. Someone help?”

Everyone looked away from me, uncomfortably. The silence was palpable, until eventually, my roommate, An said she would take a look and see if it was still there.

I heaved a relieved sigh, and followed her, armed with a rolled up newspaper. The rest of the girls (the guys were on a separate floor, and didn’t know about the crisis we girls were dealing with) peeped in through our open door and waited.

And waited.

Turns out, we couldn’t find it anymore. We scoured every part of our room, and that little son of a mother seemed to have disappeared off the face of Earth. Where had it gone?

Over the next few hours, I didn’t say a single word to anyone because I was too busy questioning my sanity. Had I really seen it? Or had it been a figment of my imagination? And if it wasn’t, then it meant I had a dirty cockroach gone rogue in my room. How would I be able to sleep at night?

Thankfully, a few days later, all the rooms on our 2nd floor found cockroaches. First came the tell-tale squeal from the room opposite to ours which was occupied by J, and A. A screamed the loudest I think. And then the room next to mine, and a few hours later, the room down the hall, housing S and D.

I remember, every time someone screamed about a cockroach, I ran around gleefully, jumped on their beds and shouted, “I TOLD YOU SO. REMEMBER MY ROOM HAD THE COCKROACH FIRST.” They would then, look at me and remorsefully nod their heads.

Obviously, we told our teacher about the infestation problem and she marched right up to the reception and complained fiercely. They said they would see what they could do, and we went from the 2nd floor to the 3rd.

And that is why I don’t like cockroaches. I have been scarred, but as I said, I emerged unscathed, and I’m proud to have faced those monster roaches and come out alive, if a little bit shaken.

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