The Arachnid War


Nug had been like a broken record for the past month, “When we go to Mongolia, I want to stay in a ger and ride a camel!”  She would repeat this seemingly every day.  I personally didn’t see the big deal but she had put up with tons of my requests so I agreed.  After our drive to Terelj National Park we stayed in a local family’s ger for the night.  We had a magnificently paired dinner of spaghetti bolognaise with hot sauce and soy sauce.  On the side we were given pickles and yogurt which was washed down with beautiful instant coffee…what a treat!

Unpretentious dinner

Settling in for a nice game of rummy….we thought.












After dinner we retired to our ger to play rummy and escape the cold.  The 1st hour or so was fine until a spider the size of my palm rappelled onto our bed in the creepiest manner possible and sprinted for a dark corner.  I shrieked in terror while smashing him into oblivion.  At that moment we got the strange feeling of being watched.  A scan of the ger revealed my biggest fear materialized and I got chills.  It was infested by (this is a conservative estimate) hundreds of these creepy crawlies.  Apparently the arachnids were nocturnal because where there had been none before there were now countless 8 legged beasties.  There were several spider varieties of different colors, size and hairiness.  They were scuttling on the floor, in corners, on the other beds and on the ceiling.  The closest town was miles away and the outside temperature was in the 30’s.  For all intents and purposes we were captive.  I was absolutely terrified.

One of the creepers

Midget bed







The only saving grace for me was that it was Nug’s idea.  If I had proposed the ger stay the wrath of heaven would have crashed down on my head.  The arachnid war commenced over the next several hours.  The spiders would charge and we would dismantle their forces.  They would retreat, regroup and hit us again.  It was like the movie “Kill Bill” with Nug and I employing our ninja skills and standing back to back as the spider corpses piled up.  As the attacking spider numbers started to dwindle we squeezed onto one of the single beds and wrapped ourselves like burritos for protection.  We spent the next several hours (sleeping is not an appropriate term) taking periodic 3 minute naps and jolting awake to check for enemy intruders.  It was mostly random kamikazes at this point.  As the sun rose we stepped out of the ger like survivors of a zombie apocalypse.  We were greeted by the Mongolian host, “How was sleep?”  We lied in unison, “Okay.”  After breakfast (4 cups of coffee) and a bit of national park exploration we fulfilled Nug’s 2nd Mongolian dream.  We rode camels.  I must say it was a much more pleasant experience than her 1st idea.


I hate spiders.

This sure beats a ger.



After a great trip to New Zealand my parents came to Australia to visit us as an afterthought.  Haha…just kidding Mom and Dad!  Anyways, they had several days to spend with us on the Gold Coast.  We planned a day trip to the “hinterland” to walk the Twin Falls Track.

Mom and Dad





It was a chilly but sunny day and we were on the lookout for some Australian critters.  “Do we have to watch out for snakes?” my mom wondered aloud.  “There are no snakes in Australia except zoos,” I joked.  We encountered very few trampers on the trail and found several great caves and waterfalls.  I led the group and kept running ahead and looking back like an anxious puppy while I waited for everyone to catch up.  Each time I turned around I would needle Nug to hurry up or bother her in some way that only a husband has the power to do.  On one of these exchanges I watched her face change expression and her mouth gape open as she attempted to speak.  I didn’t hear a word but instinctively wheeled to face an unseen foe.  Covering the entire path and directly below the sole of my oafish foot was the giant body of an 8ft carpet python (which at that moment looked to be an anaconda).  I immediately broke into an impromptu break dance that I hope no one saw and is never repeated again.  At the same time a strange guttural scream betrayed my fear.  Fate smiled on me at that moment because although my erratic stomping feet tried, I missed the snake and retreated to safety.  The serpent had apparently just dined as there was a massive lump in his gut.

It was scarier in real life!







Nug laughed once I was out of danger and my Dad proceeded to further wound my dignity by stepping on the snake’s tail as it slithered away “so we could get better pictures.”  The rest of the walk was amazing with cascading waterfalls and caves, yet behind every tangle of roots I saw more pythons lurking.

Behind the curtain

Twin Falls




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