Friday, May 11, 2007

Gokiburi-tachi no tasogare

Now that the hot weather has well and truly arrived in Busan, I'm waiting for my war against the mosquito menace to resume. But when my wife discovered some hard black dropping-type objects in one of our cupboards under the sink this week, it was a different enemy we had to do battle with. Not being from these parts, or quite this kind of climate, I rather nonchalantly began to pull cleaning bottles and plastic bags while my wife - apparently as it turned out later knowing what to expect, bravely hid by the bed at the other end of the room. As the last bag was pulled, a large black object scuttled across the side of the enclosure causing me to call out to a well known religious figure to tell me what it was I'd just seen. But before a higher power could answer, my right hand autonomously discovered the mosquito spray and I was re-enacting Desert Storm, in my cupboard. I quickly learned that cockroaches are not particularly sensitive to mosquito spray.

Victory was eventually secured when there was so much spray in the now closed cupboard that there was probably no oxygen left to breathe. We tentatively checked the other storage areas - more droppings - and another black shape seemed to shoot along the wall and up under the even darker areas of the sink. But was it real or imagined? So more cautiously this time, I removed the cupboard's contents and liberally sprayed inside. About five minutes later, and yes, there was a second cockroach, which emerged from behind the cooking range and proceeded to walk the entire length of the kitchen area - we couldn't spray it for fear of getting insecticide all over our plates and utensils - before climbing onto our jade tree at the other end. We waited, eyeing its wing-tips nervously. If it took flight - I'd resolved to empty most of the rest of the can of mosquito spray towards it, but fortunately it was already sufficiently stunned to fall off the plant onto the floor. Then it got a good spray, and although it appeared as impervious to the chemicals as the first, I think it eventually drowned.

Having read that cockroaches can hold their breath for forty-five minutes, we nervously disposed of the bodies thinking that they might be faking or merely stunned, but they were definitely dead. After we'd cleaned, we gained access to the area beneath the units and I taped up any obvious holes in the floor. I'm guessing they came in through a gap around the pipes. The next day we bought cockroach poison which should be effective for three months, and a more appropriate - and hopefully effective - spray.

When I'd awoken that morning I thought I heard some rustling noises coming from the other side of the room - but I assumed it was our hamsters. Now I'm not so sure. Sleep light, it's going to be a long summer.

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