Special Guest Post By Travel Boyfriend: Is That Poop?
January 3rd, 2008 · 13 Comments
Like TV’s Charro, you knew it was just a matter of time before our own very special guest star, Travel Boyfriend, lent his voice to the Travel Betty blog. In this post, he describes a rather terrifying experience we had at the lovely Komaneka Resort in Ubud. I shall do my own post soon on the finer points of the property (of which, there are many). But until then, enjoy Travel Boyfriend’s blogging debut!
IS THAT POOP? By Travel Boyfriend
When you’re celebrating your honeymoon in a tropical paradise like Bali, there are any number of phrases that can harsh your well-groomed island buzz. Topping that list might be phrases like “The rebels have just seized the airport!” though I guess that might depend on your political affiliation. And of course, any phrase starting with “You have been found guilty of – “ is just bound to change the tenor of your stay (“I swear, I thought those $1.50 first-run DVDs were just on sale!”). But let me assure you that for severe intestinal freezing coupled with acute paranoia, there is really no substitute for returning to your luxurious Ubud villa after a pleasant afternoon stroll only to hear your new bride’s halting “…Is that poop?”
The question itself isn’t so much a question, but really a plea for denial. “No, that is clearly not poop” surely must come the response, “That would be insane, disgusting, and not at all conducive to the enjoyment of our stay.” But when that answer does not come, when you must admit that it (in fact) is poop, you are also forced to admit several other things. First, that something was in your room. Second, that something felt at home enough in your room, and stayed long enough, to take not only one, but several (as subsequent investigation discovered) small poops in various locations. And third (and perhaps worst), that there is no reason whatsoever to think that whatever came, and pooped, has left.
Despite this primal knowledge, Travel Betty and I tried (oh how we tried) to ignore the small offerings scattered about our floor, and to get some well-deserved relaxation on the sumptuously decorated bed. A few minutes later, probably just about the millisecond I was forming the thought, “Hey, maybe whatever it was left –,“ my body and soul was shattered by a piercing croak/shriek/cry whose source (to my ears) was surely no farther away than my right shoulder blade. Feeling somewhat like a cartoon car slowly retracting its claws from the ceiling, I struggled to come back down to earth and approach the matter scientifically. The sound continued, but nothing was visible in the area near the bed. What could it be: Frog? Bird? Alien? (I wisely eliminated the latter due to the lack of crop circles in the vicinity). How big could it be (based upon the poop and available places to hide)? And (perhaps the most immediate concern) where could it be?
A short phone call later, and two friendly and attentive resort staff, temporarily pressed into service as animal wranglers, were admitted to our room. As they poked and prodded and overturned all items in the area searching for the now-silent threat, TB and I stood in the far corner, preparing just the right pitch of scream and/or deadly ninja defense move for the moment the snarling, fanged creature burst loose from its hiding place and launched itself directly at our throats. Instead, the staff eventually turned back toward us, and with a shrug and apologetic smile, admitted that they had no idea what it might have been or where it was, but to call again if anything else happened.
The second call, around 15 minutes after the first and triggered by the same sound emanating this time near TB’s side of the bed, brought out yet more staff with more complex tools, including a ladder to search the uppermost reaches of our villa. This time we waited outside by the (absolutely stunning, by the way) infinity pool as we heard reassuring thumps from within that seemed to indicate that they might be “on to something.” Or were at least making a good show of it for us.
After about twenty minutes of this, the staff came outside to talk to us. Again, they were apologetic, but at least now we had a culprit: “Yes, it’s a lizard, but it’s in the walls, in the bamboo.” So again, correlating the facts: there was a loud, shrieking animal hiding in the walls, which also had an all-access pass to come inside and poop on our floor and, potentially, soil any or all of our other belongings as we slept or strolled the peaceful countryside. And I had flown how many thousand miles for this?
“You see lizard?” they asked by way of confirmation. “No,” I replied, “but I saw its…” Leavings? Droppings? Poop? All the entries in my scatological thesaurus were equally ineffective, and my attempts at mimicking the shape of the poop between my fingers didn’t seem to help the translation. I hadn’t planned on needing to know the Indonesian word for poop, and now this oversight had returned to haunt me.
Finally they left, muttering to themselves something that must surely have translated as “Yes, of course sir, you have discovered that there are small animals loose on the island of Bali. I will alert the authorities immediately.” Expressing to each other that “perhaps they’d scared it off” (among other half-hearted reassurances), TB and I decided to go off and have dinner, and hope for the best upon our return.
Later that night, we returned to no new poop, no noises, and no other signs of an intruder since the wranglers had left, and quickly readied ourselves for bed. Again, it was the millisecond I was about to relax and drop off to sleep when the piercing sound began to emanate from the walls. TB and I rolled over to look at each other, expressions of horror and panic mirrored on our faces. There was no sleep to be had here this night. The villa, to all outward signs an unblemished and luxuriously appointed oasis, had in fact transformed into one of the less pleasant circles of Hell. I forget which one. The one with shrieking lizards in it.
A quick call to the front desk, and the staff (at this point polite and accommodating beyond all understanding) informed us that there was another villa across the grounds that was vacant and available, and that we could move over there for the night and remainder of our stay. We decided to pack a few necessities into our daypacks and make a beeline for the proffered lizardless refuge, then return for the rest of our luggage in the morning. In quick order we located the new villa, scattered our meager belongings about, and plunged into bed and sleep.
Despite the vastly improved accommodations, I still slept lightly, and awoke at dawn with a headful of disturbing imagery. In my mind I pictured not one lizard, but a whole family, a tribe, a society of lizards inhabiting our recently abandoned room, each one spraying veritable geysers of fecal matter into every spare nook and cranny of our luggage, from rumpled clothing to tacky souvenirs. In this vision, my shoes overflowed, and my toothbrush encountered a particularly unhygienic form of abuse. The images were maddening. Something had to be done to stop these lizardish atrocities.
Leaving TB to her far more deep and restful sleep, I crossed between villas in the balmy morning heat, sheepishly passing ultra-courteous staff and deflecting their mildly inquisitive glances with a tight-lipped smile and quickened pace. With great trepidation, I unlocked the front door of our old villa and entered, my eyes slowly adjusting to the scene in the early morning light. The buffet of fecal matter and scattered belongings I had envisioned had not come to be, and in fact, the entire setting was precisely as we had left it. Somewhat reassured, but still feeling as if I was in enemy territory, I laid down the plush white bathrobe supplied by the villa and piled it high with assorted belongings, then wrapped the whole package up like some makeshift hobo bindle. It took me about 5 or 6 quick trips back and forth between villas before all of our belongings were safe and secure in our new refuge. TB had blissfully slept through my Herculean efforts, but was delighted to find that I had managed to gather all of our belongings as she slept, so that we were in good shape to tackle the day ahead.
So to sum up: What travel tips can I pass along about our battle with lizard-kind? I guess I can say that, if you’ve ever doubted that lizards can make a high, piercing shriek…well, doubt no more. Oh yeah, and never, ever make your villa walls out of hollow, lizard-friendly bamboo. That’s just a no-brainer. Still and all, TB and I had a great time in Ubud, an amazingly beautiful part of a wonderful tropical island paradise.
But don’t even ask us about the ants in the toilet.