When we walked up the three flights of stairs to our villa (house) the cement was littered with dead, crunchy cockroaches. I suppose we were all so tired from the 25 hour trip that we didn’t really care about the crunch, crunch with each step. I had 4 small children in tow and was 8 months pregnant. I soon learned that they (cockroaches) are tricky and evasive and to be respected for their ability to play dead and out maneuver the best opponent.
The next morning in the light of day I saw no cockroaches, so I felt relieved. They were only an outdoor kind of pest…..relief. But this was as far from the truth as I could have imagined. I went to the kitchen, which was bare, no appliances no counters, nothing, but the one thing I did see was a big, shiny, plastic looking cockroach. I screamed and it scuttled under the only thing in the kitchen, the sink. I ran out and shut the door! After that I saw them every where, in the bathroom, on the wall, near the drain! Each time I let out a shriek and ran. I spent all day and night worried about that particular cockroach and where it might have gone. One day a nice American lady came to visit me, I didn’t know anyone, didn’t have a phone and couldn’t go out, so this was a welcome visit. She was married to an Arab man as well and had lived in Riyadh for several years so she explained that I needed to just get a shoe or ship ship (slipper) and smash it.
Cockroaches enter your villa just like any other insect might, but especially from the drain in your bathroom and kitchen. At first I had no idea what this round, small hole in the middle of the room was. In the kitchen and bathroom there is a drain, it has a round metal cover over it. People clean their floors with water and push the water down this drain. In my villa the drain cover was unfortunately, a little plastic, mesh type cover which did not cover what proved to be, the cockroach causeway! So, obviously not the most cleanly of friends to be walking on kitchen counters and inside cupboards after climbing up from the drain.
One day soon after my friend’s visit and countless encounters with cockroaches I decided to take action. After all, I grew up in the Northwest where we have huge spiders, ants, snakes and even coyotes, so I knew I could face a little cockroach! Upon exiting the bathroom I spotted a shiny brown cockroach, it scurried into the bedroom. I tiptoed past the door of the bedroom, ship ship in hand, high above my head as if I were stalking an armed intruder. This time it would be different, no cowering or shrieking, I searched and found it belly up behind my bedroom door. Was this the same one I had just seen or an old foe from days before? I wasn’t going to hit a dead cockroach yuck! So I moved quietly about the room, looking in every place that this creature would hide. There was little in the room but indoor outdoor black carpet and a few pads on the floor so the search was an easy one. I returned to look behind the door, IT WAS GONE!!! Had it been playing dead? Lesson learned, when faced with a cockroach get your ship ship!