Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Loch Nichada Monster

I live in Bangkok, but I don’t really LIVE in Bangkok. I live in a pleasant, Epcot-Center-like community of the future, where cheerful Swedes and Koreans zip around on electric golf carts, jackbooted yet oddly childlike Thai guards pick flowers, nap and tickle each other at every corner, and everything - from Baskin-Robbins ice cream to the legendary “Strong and Bitey” Australian cheddar to my personal favorite grocery store item of any kind, ever (for the story behind it, not the taste), Weihenstephaner Korbinian - is available at the local store. Our apartment is near a pleasant artificial lake, ringed with tropical trees and a few apartment buildings, with the school looming in the background.

However, there’s a dark side. I’ve already mentioned the strange plague of albino geckos. There are also an awful lot of bats, and centipedes as big as a man’s finger. There are snails nearly the size of my fist that often get stepped on or run over, leaving a tragic, omelette-sized smear of invertebrate gore. There are glistening things that rustle in the undergrowth as you hurry down the slimy, uneven lakeside path.

And there are... things... in the lake. Large things. I don’t know what they are, but they thrash periodically. The sound is exactly like the sound of Shamu leaping ten feet into the air, through a hoop and slapping back down into the water. When this happens as I’m strolling around the lake, I always look, but a moment too late, and all I can see is a giant welling circle of disturbed water, as if someone had just dropped a boulder into the lake. I have no idea what sort of sea beastie could possibly be making splashes like that in a peaceful little pond. I am picturing something roughly dolphin-sized. With needle-sharp teeth and a taste for human flesh. I tried to take a picture of one of the splash blast zones earlier, but it didn’t come out. You can’t see it, but half of the lake in the picture below is rippling from the aftereffects of a creature’s vigorous, whalloping aquathrash. I’ll try to capture this phenomenon on film later today. If I don’t post after this, you’ll know what happened.

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