Mondo Weirdo

The meanest rat in Malaysia


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Salon Staff
October 14, 1997 1:49PM (UTC)

The meanest rat in Malaysia

My friend, Andrew "Schmedley" Oelz, and I decided to take a
relaxing vacation through Southeast Asia one year. On our
way through central Malaysia on the "Jungle Train," we
stopped off at the Taman Negara National Park and booked
ourselves a place, or a "hide," in the middle of the jungle, which was
little more than a glorified treehouse with a wide opening
from which you could look down at animals foraging below.

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When we entered the hide, we noticed a logbook that chronicled something much more mysterious than the amazing animals people might have seen below -- it recorded visitations of a large and particularly voracious
jungle rat that apparently terrorized everyone staying in the hide.
There were illustrations (ugly), stories (fearsome), tips
(violent), and so on about how to deal with the marauder.

That night, we carefully stowed our food in a storage box
and went to sleep. There were about six other people in the
hide with us. Of course, at about 4 in the morning,
everyone was up with flashlights blazing like a macabre
cabaret. And in the spotlight was the jungle rat, who
happened to be performing right under Schmedley's bed.

The rat was about the size of a small dog and made weird
snarling sounds. Its eyes were red and its tail was naked.
It gnawed. It was like a Disney character gone bad.
Apparently, some Germans staying in the hide with us had
left out some peanuts because they wanted to see it.

Fortunately, no one was bitten -- or killed.

And then there were the glow-in-the-dark cockroaches ...

-- Mike Hodgson

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What's up, dock?

One of the strangest sleeping stories I have had in my weird experiences
file is from one warm night on the Greek isle of Naxos. At 7 p.m. my friend and I were staring at the sea, looking and waiting for a ferry that never did come. Being as we had just said our "fond farewells" to the innkeeper whose damp basement we'd camped out in for a week, we decided to just lay our heads down and sleep where we waited, on the boat dock.

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What makes this a Mondo Weirdo experience is what happened when we woke up early
the next morning: All around us, in a perfect circle, sat six old Greek
fishermen. They were chatting to each other unfazed, as if two blonde 24-year-old
American women were not waking up wide-eyed and mortified under their
noses.

They were pretty neat-looking characters, and we would have enjoyed
seeing them from another vantage point. But at that moment of shame, it
was hard to be anything but in a big rush.

My friend and I don't speak Greek, but we interpreted their actions as a
statement that we should think twice next time before making our beds in
the work space of Greek fishermen.

-- Bonnie Olmsted

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The safest spot in town

One night many years ago, when I was young and silly, I drove home
after having too much to drink and too little sleep. I decided I had
better pull over and sleep before a cop pulled me over and didn't give me an option of where to sleep -- no doubt, it would be in jail.

So I turned off the freeway and into the first residential-looking
apartment complex I could find, and I drove along until I found an
available parking space, parked the car and dozed off.

The next morning when I woke up, I looked around and realized that I was
not in an apartment complex, but a very residential-looking police
department! The cars next to my vehicle were all police cars. It turns out
that I had spent the night at the jail after all.

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-- Wally Glenn



Salon Staff

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