I am no longer blindly trusting when I feel what may or may not be creepy crawlies on my skin. On Friday I had a brush with a nasty centipede. This is what it looked like, I think. Honestly, I am no longer sure. I think I wiped it out of my memory.


I felt lazy that morning, so decided against joining Matt for a cooking class. Instead, I lay in bed, reading my book and napping. I didn’t even bother going to the hotel pool. At 15:00, I forced myself into clothing, and wandered over to see how Matt was doing.

They were still quite busy, so I headed down to the beach. I figured I would check out the places off to my left after exiting the Blue Lagoon. I found one chair under a tree at a cafe and massage place next to the Pilot Bar, and realized that I’d forgotten to bring my sunscreen, so I moved my chair slightly to make sure that even my toes were in the shade. That’s when I must have disturbed the centipede.

I was just settling in when a burning sensation on my right middle toe made me think, “Ow. I must have rubbed sand in one of those coral cuts,” then, “Wait. I didn’t cut that toe.” So I looked down at it and saw a giant (to me) red centipede wrapped around my toe! Wrapped around it!

I shook it, but it held on. I wasn’t sure what to do. My foot was starting to burn. Then it unwrapped and slithered away. What is the word for the way a centipede moves?? My whole foot was stinging, very badly. A tiny part of my brain was comparing it to the bee sting I received in the center of my chest while motorcycling in the Cotswolds last summer. Another part was panicking, “Aa! A big-ass centipede! Aa!! Ow!! It hurts! I’m going to die!” Yet another part was deciding what to do in what order.

I jumped up, grabbed my things, and rushed to the water. Salt is a natural antihistamine, so I soaked my foot there and put some salt water on my tongue, just in case that helped. Then I put my sandals back on and starting walking/limping very fast back up the path, towards Matt then back to the resort.

I was fighting back panicky pain tears when I stopped very briefly in at the cooking school to tell Matt I was bit by something and needed to go see if I needed to go to the doctor. In retrospect, I probably could have checked with his cooking instructor, but I wasn’t thinking smoothly anymore. I’d made a plan of action, and now I was acting it out, leaving me free to panic while doing so.

Next stop was reception at the resort. I was wearing my sunglasses, to hide my tears, but I’m sure there was no doubt as to my state. Martin and two of his staff came very quickly to have a look. He advised that as it didn’t look too swollen I would probably be OK and could just relax and keep an eye on it. Relieved, I hurriedly thanked him and went to my bungalow, where I dumped everything outside the door, went in, and sobbed and panicked for a while on the sofa after washing my foot in the shower.

Then I googled centipedes in Thailand, but after a very brief glance at the first entry about very poisonous, dangerous, etc., I closed that down. That was when I realized that I’d left everything including camera and wallet outside, and the door open, too.

Jack, if you’re reading this, I know you’ll probably tease me about being a wuss later, but in my defense, let me just say: “gigantic red centipedes are freaky!!” And it hurt.

It turns out I was probably lucky. It was only about as long as my index finger, so not as big as that type can get, and apparently unlike some other nasty critters, the bigger ones are more dangerous. My foot was somewhat swollen and very sore for a few hours, but I was able to walk for dinner later that night and by morning it was totally fine. Hurray!