Thai cockroaches are a hearty species, unrivaled in size, strength, and endurance with the possible exception of the Hawaiian cockroach, which is slightly larger than a Cessna aircraft.

On the way back from Thai language class today, I was walking with several of my classmates along the sidewalk of Soi Patpong.  We walk in large groups because it is more difficult for the mamasans and touts to physically assault us and drag us into a club or try to sell us sex DVDs. 

As we were walking, we noticed an increasing number of cockroaches on the sidewalk and in the curb.  Some had been squashed underfoot, possibly resulting in bad karma for the people doing the squashing.  Others were still alive, running for cover.  Still others scurried along in a dazed, confused manner – not in a straight line, but as if they were drunk.  A few were on their backs, legs twitching.

Twenty meters or so down the soi, what appeared to be smoke or fog was billowing out the front door.  A truck parked in front showed a dead bug on it and while none of us read Thai (yet) we determined it was an exterminator.  Sure enough, as we passed by the cloud, we were nearly overtaken by the noxious odor of fumigation.  The roaches were escaping from the attack!

Two bars down, a group of scantily-clad bar girls huddled in the bright sun, which showed how heavily their pancake makeup was layered on.  They, too, struggled to get clear of the exterminator’s cloud, although none were lying on their backs kicking their legs like the roaches.

Just another day in Khrungthep.


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