Security is paramount in these third world backwaters.

I always call Borneo ‘high civilization’. It sounds really cool. Borneo has ‘high civilization’, it just rolls off the fucking tongue.

I bought an adaptor next door to the hotel run by the Chinese.

It worked and the next day I went back to compliment them.

Before I could say Jack Robinson, a slug started pushing his way into the shop, giving me a foul look.

‘Is this guy annoying,’ he must have said to the Chinese owner. A few other thugs, or slugs, were following him. Before I could even say Robinson, about five of them were in the shop to give me a good fucking hiding.

The Chinese owner said I was just some dumb tourist, and a retard to boot.

The thugs streamed out of the shop. But I wasn’t appeased.

Hay, I said to Chief Slug, I’m a tourist, not a terrorist.

I learned that one from the Afghanis. Usually works like a charm.

‘No problem Mister.’

It was no problem until he made it one.

Did he think I was asking for extortion money? Did he think I wanted to enter his turf?

Who knows.

Yesterday I ran into the slug and said my obligatory Hello Mister, trying really hard to roll my tongue.  He was courteous and even smiled back.

I”m wondering why the change of tune.

‘They know Ruddy is head of security at my hotel,’ says the manager.’Even the gangsters respect him.’

I bet they respect his Glock too.

‘Made in Taiwan,’ says Ruddy. It was a plastic gun but still shot out slugs as effective as a metal casing.

But there was no protecting me from the rat that attacked me at Chinese cafe. I only made it to the steps of the toilet when it leaped across the room and tried to take a chunk out of my foot. I was wearing flip flops but instinctively kicked.

It was the day that I didn’t get rabies and the first time I had been barred entry into a toilet. It was far less sinister than being locked in a toilet, which was a few days after the rat attack. Now that really unnerved me.

But a good hammer will knock down any door. Wonder if there is a law against carrying a hammer. Doubt it, this isn’t the West where they’d charge you for carrying an armed weapon.

I have waking, and I don’t mean sleeping, nightmares, that everyone wants to lock me in their toilet. I’m disturbed by the experience of being locked in the toilet for thirty seconds. I banged and banged some more. The Alfa Mart staff was standing patiently outside and released me from my prison. He couldn’t see what all the fuss was about. The fuss was if he was in the shop and no one could hear me banging, I would have been stuck for a long time. The windows had bars on them too.

I know they’d come looking for me. The last thing they needed was a  fat foreign tourist snooping out the back. They needed their customers in the shop buying their products. I bought a couple of packet of cigarettes. It was agreed among myself and the two staff  I was better being a consumer than a prisoner.

They promised never to lock me in the toilet again. We had made a truce, there and then.

Back in the safety of the air-conditioned mini-mart, I gave my best performance.

‘You saved my life,’  I  said to the staff who opened up the toilet. His name was Mustafa and he was Muslim. Once I got that part right, I continued.

I nearly embraced a couple of aunties in the shop and pointed to my savior, ‘he saved my life. Inshallah. He fucking saved my life.’

Sure, I was hamming it up. I was free, and the air was sooooo fresh.

Not even a Glock can protect you from those West Borneo rats that apparently love nothing more than playing possum before they pounce on you.

Rat attack, it does happen, West Kalimantan way. I’ll  never take for granted a trip to the toilet. I’ll have my guards up, making sure my foot is keeping the door ajar to prevent it from being locked outside.

When I take a piss, I’ll also be alert for any agro rats. They don’t tell you about that in the guidebooks.

Consider this free and gracious advice, it might save your life.



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