Roaches and Snakes and Lizards….Oh my!

So, late last evening when I was out for a stroll after returning home from work, something caught my eye. Something reddish brown that moved very quickly through the lighted areas of the Taipei sidewalk, trying to return to it’s shadowy home: a cockroach!

Now, in a subtropical city which isn’t known for being the cleanest place in the world, seeing a roach, even a large one as the locals are (a good 7-8cm in length) shouldn’t even be something to bat an eye about, much less write up on my blog. But, you see this was actually one of the first roaches I’ve seen since I’ve been here for the last 4+ months, and the other noteworthy thing was, it wasn’t alone.

For the first time since I’ve been out walking at night, I saw many roaches last night skittering everywhere, it was almost like the horde had been unleashed and was rushing through the city on a quest to eat it’s garbage scraps. (That left behind by the hordes of stray dogs and cats that populate this city, not many mice or rats though, because the cats do good work.) I was actually pretty shocked to see them all, and wondered where they were coming from, until I thought about it a while as I walked.

Although last night was fairly dry and calm, it followed a good solid week of rain and a torrential weekend which caused no small amount of flooding outside of the city. So, I reasoned, what was happening was that the roaches had been flooded out of their sewer homes and were forced up into the light with the rest of us.

“Welcome to the party guys, watch out for the scooter drivers, they’re nuts!”

An interesting additional note came today during my Chinese Language Class when one of my classmates by the name of Eugene (a pleasant older man with a definite love of travel) related to me that this morning during a walk in the forrest he’d suddenly found himself surrounded by an abundance of wildlife. Making it clear this was not a usual occurance, he said that he’d found the forrest floor to be teeming with lizards and even saw a snake. (Which are quite the rare, if dangerous, thing in these parts.) He also said the birds were more plentiful than usual, and saw a wide variety of beautiful plumage during his walk.

Well, I can’t explain the birds (although perhaps they’re there to eat the bugs and lizards…) but I related my roach story to him and commented that probably the lizards and snake were also flushed out by the water and forced to seek open ground. It seems the water makes life more interesting for everyone around Taipei.


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