A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about your holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.
Cockroaches make a weird smell when you whack them dead. I take no pleasure in removing life from this planet, but cockroaches are a possible exemption. Especially when they're crawling up from your hotel bathroom's sinkhole and running rampant through your room.
Solomon Islands, 2016, and I was in the middle of one of the more unforgettable travel experiences of my life. The Solomons may be poor and still only 15 or so peaceful years since what was a near civil war, but I'd return there tomorrow if given the chance. World-class diving and snorkelling, extensive World War II sites and the most significant jungles in the South Pacific rightly mean that tourism is slowly but surely growing there. If you want adventure on your holiday, as well as a welcome from the locals of such warmth they'll likely treat you like visiting royalty if you stop by their village, put the Solomons on your list.
All of which means, this little Travel Bugs entry is not complaining about the Solomon Islands. It's merely the setting for the yarn and a yarn involving a prehistoric insect found everywhere from the equatorial tropics to Antarctica. An insect I've since discovered has many fans in the scientific world, who say the humble cockroach has been unfairly maligned as a dirty, even dangerous, pest.
On the island of Malaita we were staying in what could be optimistically described as a modest motel. Settling into bed for the night, I saw one cockroach do a floor scurry out the corner of my eye. Jumping up in a flash, I grabbed a jandal as a weapon. Whack! Poor creature, but the room wasn't big enough for the two of us. Scouring the room for more visitors, I lay back down on the bed. Then I saw another one, this time on the headboard. Yikes. The floor is one thing, but on the bed itself?
Flicking it off the headboard with the jandal, I whacked again. That smell; it's almost metallic, like something created in a laboratory. Two cockroaches became three, three became four and all told I jandal-slapped 11 of them to kingdom come before discovering the source of all the terror and misery: the sink in the bathroom. With no plug, I shoved toilet paper into the sinkhole and put a rubbish bin over the plughole in the shower just in case.
The room was a metallic-fragranced massacre and I drifted into the troubled sleep of a man confronted by insect atrocities he never knew he was capable of.
Use of the term "Cattle Class"
"How was the flight?" "Oh, not too bad. We were only in cattle class and way down the back, but it was all right".
I've heard minor variations of the above Q+A countless times and the intentions of self-deprecation are fine, but it's always struck me as pretty much the silliest thing to say about an international flight. Why? Because it's insanely expensive to fly business class. It should never, ever be embarrassing to travel in the only manner most of us can afford.
With Business Class tickets often being around four times the price of Economy, don't feel the need to suggest that you took the cheap option. Instead, view the small number of passengers in Business and First Class as being the ones who took the expensive options.
And never feel sheepish about cattle again.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's The Two, Coast Soul on iHeartRadio and writes the RoxboroghReport.com.