Saturday, May 26, 2012

Our Home is Alive!

I am prompted to write about the many creatures I live with. One morning, I found a black scorpion nearly the size of my outstretched hand bathing in our toilet. Now, if it had been a Western toilet, it would have most assuredly drowned, but in our squat toilet, it looked like it was just getting out of the heat. It’s possible it just slipped in. I don’t know.

Thip’s warned me that now that the rainy season is gearing up, I need to keep a closer eye on the floor. Apparently, scorpions are not the only creatures to craw, walk, hop or slither in. Come to think of it, I’ve had to remove more than one gray toad from the bathroom already, even in the hot season.

Ah, scorpions, toads – they’re small in number compared to the main occupants of our home. I’ve been thinking of renaming the place “The Gecko Hotel” because there are at least a hundred of them that reside here, including the larger geckos called tokays. My wife tells me they can fetch up to $400 USD (U.S. dollars) for their supposed medicinal properties. They all keep to themselves and actually help with bug control.

The tokays can be quite loud. I heard them long before I saw one. Typical sounds are:

“Choke dee, choke dee…” or:

“F—k you, f—k you… ahhhh.”

Then there are the rice field rats. They are drawn to the bags of rice we store inside the house, the attractive spots to set-up homes in the eaves of our tin roof, and ease of access in and out of the building. I have begun to wage war on these noo because it’s not healthy to have them around and sometimes they even wake me up at night. To be honest, I used to sleep with the light on because of them. Lately, I have been winning the war and now seldom see or hear them.

Additional occupants of our home property include lizards that can average a foot in length. They, too, are not that pretty except the rib areas under the front legs. These can be very colorful and range from patterned orange and black to air-brush-like fluorescent lime green. These guys stay outside for the most part and they can really run!

There are several types of ants on the property, including a type of “fire” ant that you don’t want to be standing on their hills. The biggest ant problem we have with ants is a variety of black ant that periodically looks to make a home in clothing or bedding that hasn’t been worn recently. We hang as much of our clothes and fabric as we can. Lesser used things I am bagging up in large plastic bags.

Other occupants of the property include several species of birds, including the neighbors’ chickens, usually leading a troop of chicks along to where the pickings are easy.

Then there are the several village dogs who I guess grew up here and when Thip bought the house (with her own money), the dogs came with it. For the first several months, I put up with the situation largely because they were good companions for our puppy Imbune. But, they kept making a mess in the bathroom and even chasing motorcyclists. So, now I don’t let them come in the house; chase them away when they act out of line; and no longer feed them. They eventually come back a day or two later and hang for a while, then go off to other areas where they can find food. They run alongside us when we ride our bikes to the temple in the morning for jahn hahn. At the wat there’s always plenty of food.

And, of course, there’s Imbune (translation: lots of good karma):

An update on the animal situation in and around our home, a year later, can be found at: "Home Alive" Revisited.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

These Isaan stories are great. Thanks Malcolm.