I'm in a jungle in Sumatra and there are no other tourists...

I'm in a jungle in Sumatra and there are no other tourists...

July 09, 2021

Story submitted by traveller Pamela

Back at the hotel, Rimbo and I are still alone. He cooks me a great dinner, white rice of course, chicken, veggies, and some egg all mixed with a type of soy sauce. We’re still cracking jokes. When it’s time for bed, for the first time, I’m a bit afraid of being in the jungle. At night. All alone in the hotel, as Rimbo’s got his own living quarters somewhere nearby, just off the property.

The sun has set and the generator’s turning off in minutes, so I light my lantern, tuck in my mosquito net, and read a book. I’m really enjoying ‘The Imajica’ by Clive Barker, about a traveling person going between different worlds. I hear some funky jungle noises and decide to sleep with the lantern on so I can see if there’s anything weird sneaking into my room. This entire trip I’ve had a paring knife with a small cap on it. I grab it out of my bag and stick it under my pillow. Just in case.

I wake up around 2:00 a.m. with the need to use the loo. I uncrack my eyes. I’m so into my book, I’d fallen asleep with it in my hand. The lantern glow is still on high, so I see my entire mosquito net is absolutely covered with enormous jungle insects.

There are huge praying mantises as big as my forearm, titan beetles the size of my shoe, katydids and rhinoceros bugs, firefly larvae, spiders (yikes!), cicadas, millipedes, mosquitoes, moths, butterflies, and countless smaller bugs. Thousands of them swarming in my room, all over my floor and on my mosquito net. Along with bugs that like to eat smaller bugs.

My biggest nightmare. And I still have to pee.

Oh My God. What am I going to do? I’d thought the dark wood furniture and flooring was beautiful this morning, but now it’s camouflage for the dark creepy-crawlies. Thank God I have the light on or else I wouldn’t have seen all of this. You’d think Rimbo would’ve warned me about this. It must happen every night. Should I just pee the bed? Can I reach my cup of water and go in that? I quickly grasp that I cannot do either one. What if the bugs enjoy the scent and find a way into my protected bed?

I scan the mosquito net for any small holes. So far, there are none that I can see. I remember back to the movie ‘Indiana Jones 2–The Temple of Doom.’ The actress, Kate Capshaw, walked on a darkened crunchy path and when she lit a candle, the crunchy sounds were huge bugs. They crawled all over her, in her hair, down her nightgown. I’d read she’d been so terrified that the only way she would do the scene was if Steven Spielberg himself stood just off camera and had bugs crawl on him too. In real life, he married her.

Okay, deep breath. I’m going to make a run for the bathroom.

In this day alone, I’ve been manhandled at the beach, stunned by the heavy metal school bus, been pick-pocketed, did a jungle trek, burned leeches off my leg, made rainforest medicine, ridden an elephant through the jungle, wrestled with a baby elephant, and now awaken to the ‘Temple of Doom’ scene.

Just your average Tuesday.

My Grandpa would be proud.

I pull my hair into a tight bun, but leave some hair covering my ears, pull the neck of my shirt up onto my head like the cartoon ‘Beavis’ and I tuck my shirt into my sarong. I can see my flip-flops just near my bed, with only a few bugs in them. I reach my arm out, shake them off, and bring my shoes into my bed, quickly tucking the mozzy netting back into place. I survey the damage. Some bugs shifted slightly from the moving net but other than that, most stayed in place. I slide the flip-flops on and take another deep breath.

I make an opening just large enough to slide out my legs, then hips, my head, with my arms last, so I can re-tuck and run. I’m bombarded by the flying bugs and proud of myself for taking all these precautions. I open the door to my room and head into the darkened hallway to the bathroom a few doors down. I keep swiping my arms and legs to make sure I’m all clear and quickly use the facilities, realizing as I bare my ass and lady bits yet again today, it’s the perfect time for penis envy.

Stepping back into the dark hallway, I can see my brightly lit room. It looks like I’m a bug scientist and they’ve all escaped in the apocalypse. As I run into my room of mayhem and shut the door, it dawns on me, wisely, that all the bugs are only in my room. Not in the hallway or the bathroom.

Because I left the light on.

I slide into my bed, still swiping my limbs, sliding in and re-tucking realizing that a ‘bug scientist’ I’m definitely not. Everyone knows if you leave the lantern on, all the bugs would be drawn to it. I mean All of the Bugs, even a few from nearby Borneo and Sulawesi. I’m sure my Vegas-light was just a beacon for one huge insect rave party.

Well, I sure can’t turn it off now.

So, I just sit and watch the bugs from inside my safe netting until the sun rises a couple of hours later. I must’ve passed out, because next thing I know, I hear knocking on my door. Rimbo wants to know if I’d like some breakfast.

“Yes, please!” I croak out, still terrified. I tell him I’ll be right there and slowly check out my situation. No bugs on the net. No bugs flying. No bugs on the floor. Did I dream this? Hell no. But everything looks so… normal. I slide out and when I tell him how my night went, he can’t stop laughing.

“Bugs like light! Light no good!” he squeaks, barreled over with tears running down his cheeks. We both laugh at me throughout breakfast. Yep, I’m here for your entertainment.


For more stories like this, purchase her book here: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1735273600?fbclid=IwAR1p3i8zl8rMNmeqbaEr7oH5Gi0nhfYNq2BGF5lanS-CWE8_BbVeMPKgwKI

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