Tarantula. Ergh, the word alone gives me the creeps.
While most hairy, over-sized spiders have the decency to stay in the jungle far away from humans, others appear at bright daylight when you least expect it and make you feel like you just stepped into your own personal horror movie.
That pretty much sums up what happened to me.
ITSY BITSY SPIDER FEAR
Like most girls, I’ve always been terrified of spiders. Just the thought of them or people saying the word “tarantula” out loud made my hair stand on end. I cannot count the times my dad has hunted, caught and squashed a house spider in my room when I was little, and they were not even half as huge as the fella above. However, on my first trip to Asia, I was on my own and not even close to accepting the fact that during my six months abroad, I would probably run into a tarantula or two.
Being the neurotic over-thinker I am, I was already picturing worst case scenarios with spiders hiding under the bed, in the bathroom or in my backpack with the sole purpose of terrorizing me, which obviously makes total sense. The worst scenario of them all was taken from the gruesome movie Arachnophobia (which was the reason I got arachnophobia in the first place) where a tarantula crawls up under a guy’s blanket while he’s sleeping and then bites and scares him to death, like literally. I would have a heart attack if something like this happened to me…
THE (HEART) ATTACK
On one of my first nights in Thailand, I went to the beach with a Singha beer and a blanket. Temperature was perfect, thousands of stars were twinkling in the crystal clear skies and eventually the sound of the waves lulled me to sleep. Ah, so peaceful.
Or so I thought…
I suppose a few hours went by, five at least, before I woke up and felt something tingling my foot, like a feather being run over my ankle but then it started to hurt. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glimpse of movement under the thin blanket, so I looked down at my feet and that’s when I saw it…
A ridiculously enormous killer tarantula the size of a small child. ON ME. Feasting on my heel!
I screamed like I was being murdered while frantically jumping to my feet, kicking sand all over the place. I may have even blacked out for a second.
The spider froze.
So did I, and while looking up at me, it slowly took a few steps back to attack stance. Then the real panic set in, and I began flailing around wildly like a crazy person and
accidentally kicked the leggy monstrosity in the process so it took a plunge to the ground. Defeated, it ran off into the sunrise and left me with a big question mark over my head.
Had I won? No. No, it couldn’t have happened – it’s definitely coming back! But what then? Is it bringing all its friends? No, spiders don’t have friends, stupid! Okay, then maybe I won. I mean, it’s not here. Now, keep it cool, relax, I’m safe now. No more scary animals. Oh my God, maybe it’s behind me! Aaaaaagh!
CALM DOWN, WOMAN!
As you can imagine, I wasn’t exactly pleased with the situation. What on earth is a tarantula even doing on the beach?! I mean, they’re not supposed to be anywhere near us. Ever! So early next morning, I rushed to the reception and whimperingly demanded an explanation (and a hug).
My heel was all red, swollen and itchy. Was it poisonous? Am I going to die? And the most important thing: Are there others?!
The manager calmed me down and assured me that there was nothing to be afraid of. Apparently, there had been heavy rains a few days earlier which had sent mammals and reptiles flowing down the mountain sides and into town.
And the bite? Well, even though it hurt quite a lot, it wasn’t poisonous or dangerous in any way. Thank God.