Bloom's Russo-Filipino Foray 2008 travel blog

Up close it looks big, but you can't really tell how big...

you move the camera back. But even here it doesn't look half...

... as it does here.

The reason many of us become travel writers is that we lack the imagination to make stuff up ourselves. So we travel and let the story come to us, which inevitably it does, often when we least expect it.

Question: What do you do when presented with a fierce-fanged spider, diameter roughly six inches, hanging out on the wall of your cubicle-sized room at 10pm, long after everyone else in town has gone to sleep. Do you:

1. Try to kill it or shoo it out of the room. Could do, but that's a) potentially scary, and b) liable to induce spasmodic attempts to dodge an angry spider, possibly leading to vocal outbursts (NOT screams, mind you) which could wake up the other two people in the inn and cause considerable embarrassment to the generator of said vocal outburst.

2. Ignore the spider and go to sleep. Sure, whatever. I don't consider myself particularly susceptible to arachnophobia (although I'm evidently a lot more susceptible than I thought), but no f-ing way am I nodding off sharing not that much space with a genetically mutated spider, especially when there are zero obstacles obstructing the spider's path to my cranium. Can you imagine waking up with that THING attached to your face? Nor can I, under normal circumstances, but in this situation I'd be imagining exactly that all night long if I dared turn out the lights.

3. Wake up the manager - one of the two other people in the inn - and have her deal with it.

Confronted with such circumstances in Kabayan, I chose option #3. Shameful, yes, but it turned out to be the correct choice because she (a middle-aged woman) proved much more comfortable dealing with bat-sized spiders than I. The struggle between Ibaloi and insect, waged with a broom, was not without hiccups. At one point the spider, after being dislodged from its ceiling corner, simply disappeared. Was it in my bag? My bed? This was not the kind of uncertainty I needed. But after 5 minutes she located it clinging to the underside of my table. She managed to shoo it out into the corridor before coaxing it into a small waste basket, where it presumably spent the night before being set free the next day (to terrorize another tourist, perhaps?)

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