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Discuss culture, living, traveling, relocating, dating or anything related to the Asian countries - China, The Philippines, Thailand, etc.
4 posts • Page 1 of 1
I moved back to China from Vancouver back in 2008 right before the Olympics started, and I lived in a neighborhood called Shen Xin Da Di in the Wangjing area of Chaoyang district, which is one of the largest districts. At first, everything seemed OK except that the place was a bit small for my liking (well after all, we have a house in Vancouver) plus I had never really lived in China long-term until then so the culture shock took hold of me for a while. However, it did not take long for me to realize that I would have to put up with creepy crawlies on a daily basis...... COCKROACH INFESTATION!
So began my heroic battle with cockroaches in the 3 years that I lived there. Eventually I started becoming more used to them, but thinking back I still get the shivers. Initially I thought that the same kind of cockroach existed everywhere, but after utilizing the wonderful resource known as the Internet, I came to the grim realization that there were more than 4,000 species of roaches around the globe, and that 30-40 species can invade human dwellings. Not a lot compared to the denominator, but WAY more than enough to shake our sanity. Well, my sanity at least. After observing a few in the apartment, I learned that they were German cockroaches. Interestingly enough, these actually originate in Asia.
My first encounter with a cockroach was on the floor in my bedroom. Since I've never been used to bugs, I gave a high-pitched, ear shattering scream that would have rivalled a banshee. Fortunately it was scurrying away and soon disappeared out of sight, but it is a fact that if you see just one, expect an army to invade. Perhaps that one was a scout on the lookout for our presence.
I took a trip to the market near my apartment about 2 weeks after I settled down, and I saw a lady selling pet turtles. I ended up buying two (didn't know if they were male or female) and an open tank with water, pebbles, and some plants as their home. I placed the tank in my bedroom. Excited at having pets in a country that was new to me (although it is my home country), there was no consideration on the fate that would befall them. The lady who sold the turtles told me not to put too much water in the tank, as they were mainly land turtles that could not swim. After just a couple of days under my care, I noticed that the expansionist German roaches found a new piece of territory to attack. Pairs and eventually families of cockroaches began making raids into the turtle tank. I had underestimated their ability to do harm until one day I found out that both turtles were suddenly dead. A bewildered me pondered on how a couple of bugs could have taken them down without any sort of direct contact by biting or sucking blood. Returning to the good old www., it presented me with the information that roaches spread a variety of germs and bacteria that can be potentially life-threatening if the infestation is severe enough. After mourning my turtles, I began building up my guts for a showdown with these pests, but courage did not come until after a few more disheartening experiences.
Soon, their zone of comfort extended to my bathtub. Saw them in there once, never used it again. One night, as I was getting up to get a glass of water, I saw a black shadow that was crawling on the wall no more than 2 inches above my head. Perhaps the legion had a special nocturnal warfare division? With my resolve down to zero, I grabbed my pillow and slept with my ayi (housekeeper) in her room for the rest of the night.
Going to school is a nightmare. Forgetting to zip little openings on your backpack only to find a dead cockroach or two inside doesn't help much. I've had it occur to me a few times, but A) At least they were dead and not squirming B) I just grabbed them out of my backpack by their antennae after taking a few deep breaths each time.
One morning when I woke up and was about to brush my teeth, I had my ultimate challenge. Right on my toothbrush was the biggest roach I had ever seen, comfortably perched there with antennae swinging up and down. By then, I had enough of this nuisance. Using tissue paper, I reached straight for the roach, hoping to wrap it up and flush it down the sink. This big guy hated me just as much, and as soon as I went to grab it it latched on to me and started crawling all over my arm! I can swear that my nerve cells got detached and scrambled! It took a shake requiring great force to finally get it off of me. Although eventually I caught him with a second attempt and sent him swirling away, I was left in a state of semi-paralyic shock. Thinking of this incident still gives me goosebumps.
Realizing that trying to catch them would be too much effort (and fear), I resorted to drowning them with water. If I saw one, I would flood it with water from a cup or from the sink, then once I got it on its back I knew it had drowned. Not the most efficient nor effective solution, but I didn't have to risk the possibility of their direct contact with my body. This was the way I fought with them for the remainder of my stay at Shen Xin.
On the day when I was finally leaving for a new neighborhood in Wangjing (where I am now), I was about to pack the set top box for the TV so it could be used at the new apartment. After looking inside, I saw a pile of cockroach bodies left over by the invading forces that somehow got in there. It was visible that they had begun chewing up the components inside. After saying a rather hasty goodbye to some of the residents whom I had befriended while living there, I was on my legs just as fast as "la cucaracha." Victory had been gained by escaping!
Fortunately, I've never encountered bugs at my new apartment save for a few mosquitoes during the summer months and sometimes a few gnats, but it's also a lot more expensive. All along I've forgotten to mention that I live with my ayi now and my mom still visits often (even more horrible), and she bought our current suite. The bad news is since I haven't put up with these little "buddies" for a long time, I've reverted back to utmost fear for them. Next time I see a roach, I expect my banshee scream to return.
Oh well, there are many worse things in the world to deal with, and not getting to live abroad+get a good woman is a thousand times more dreadful than seeing a couple of cockies. Still, they form a major concern when deciding on my residence abroad. If I were the USA and my former apartment were the Korean War for me vs. cockroaches, I woudln't want my life abroad to turn into Vietnam! (but hey, that's where I hope to go soon)
P.S. Please tell me about creepy crawlies in Southeast Asia and other places!
I hate cock roaches with a passion! We had them in our apartment we lived up until I was 10 years old and it still sends shivers down my spine thinking about them. There is nothing more horrifying than waking up and seeing a roach crawling in your bed!
Once I turned off the bathroom light switch and about 10 seconds later saw a roach crawling up my arm! I shook my arm and it landed on the ground and it crawled into a crack on the floor. Roaches run FAST and if you don't kill them right when you see them, they will just run away and hide somewhere.
We used raid and the "roach motel" (which was a small cardboard box with open sides that had roach poison it) and that did help a lot. This is why I would not want to live in an area where roaches are prevalent (like Florida).
Thanks for posting your story Bao3niang, I am glad I am not the only one who has had experiences with cock roaches! By the way, I haven't seen a roach since I was 10 years old and I hope to God I will never see a cock roach again!
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