On the subject of ants.
The waves in Sumbawa were good, but busy. Which meant that every morning Bill, my Welsh travelling companion, and I would get up in the almost-cool, pre-dawn-dark and paddle through the dusk out to the reef. Doing this earned us a few waves, half an hour maybe, before the pack hit.
You had to be quiet though. Any noise and the definitely not soundproof bamboo walls meant you’d wake the other surfers. And they’d be hot on your heals.
You can imagine my surprise then, when one morning our painfully quiet routine was interrupted by a yelp.
“Fuck, fuck, ow,” SLAP, “ow,” SLAP, “FUCK!”
I turned on the light, illuminating a scene which has stayed so much longer than my other memories from that trip. Bill, a 6ft tall Welshman with snow white hair, was naked, his boardshorts round his ankles, desperately slapping his backside and swotting at his genitals.
“Ants man. In my board shorts.”
The shorts had been on the floor of the hut all night and, tempted by the damp I guess, the ants had crawled in as we slept.
Now, attacked by some hideous beast, they were fighting back. It was painful to watch. Clearly, there was nothing I could do. Except chuckle encouragement.
Eventually, Bill won the battle and, in a different pair of shorts, joined me on the way to the surf.
Funnily enough, if my memory serves me right, the waves were still uncrowded that morning. Perhaps the other surfers, woken by the war cries of an enraged Welshman, decided to wait until the sun was safely in the sky, having chased away the demons that haunt the jungle’s Sumbawan night.
Naturally enough, I was punished for my schadenfreude a few days later when I picked up my Lycra rashshirt from the ground and, whap!, was stung by a scorpion.