YOUR HOLIDAY DISASTER: A cockroach chorus gave David Richards a night to remember
Sunday 18 October 1998
As we arrived at the quay, our enthusiasm changed to apprehension as we viewed our transportation, which appeared to be an elongated coffin with a 1960's jet engine stuck to the back.
As the boat got under way, we lurched forward, dodging semi-submerged tree trunks, at high speed. Nevertheless, three hours later, we arrived for lunch at Marudi, a jungle staging post. Our choice for lunch was rice and vegetables, while the locals got stuck into bowls of chicken feet, a delicacy that they insisted on offering to their Western guests.
Back on the river, we continued our journey. Unfortunately, the rainforest lived up to its name and over the next few hours we got steadily wetter.
Finally, at dusk, we arrived at Mulu and were warmly welcomed by our hosts. Following supper, which included fly-pasts by the local bat aerial display team, supported by a cicada ensemble and frog chorus, we retired to our "basic" accommodation. As we entered our room, we began to understand what "basic" meant. A bed, an overhead fan, plastic flooring, a cold shower. Never mind. What would you expect in the jungle? We hung up our clothes, fastened the mosquito nets and settled down. Soon we were dozing off, comforted by the cool air from the fan, except that suddenly the fan stopped as the camp generator closed down. After a few minutes, it became unbelievably hot and humid and then, I heard movement ... we were not alone.
My mind raced as I weighed up the two main options; ignore or investigate. By this time, my girlfriend had woken up and was encouraging me to "be a man". This was a signal to investigate, so I shone my torch, through my mosquito net, onto the floor. Nothing! Slowly moving the beam up the wall, I observed our guests on the wall. We had been joined, on their nightly patrol, by several battalions of giant cockroaches.
The rest of the night became a blur as I whirled round the room, chasing our unwelcome guests - who proved remarkably resilient to being drowned in insect repellent or hit with a metal drinks bottle. Daylight couldn't come quickly enough.
A couple of hours later we'd cleared our room and were ready to go trekking. Opening the door, we observed the beautiful rainforest canopy - together with a massive spider dangling from the doorway like a hairy pendulum. Had our nightmare finished, or was it only just beginning?
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
Rap music mogul accused of running two men over in his truck
First full-length look is finally here
The party's potential nominations read like a high school race for student body president
- 2 The awkward moment Sarah Palin raised $25,000 for Hillary Clinton's election campaign
- 3 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 4 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
- 5 Baldness could soon be treated using stem cells, scientists hope
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Liberal Democrat minister defends comments suggesting immigration causes pub closures
£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...
£21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...