Warning: may contain spiders the size of your face

My main problem with Cambodia is not the lack of infrastructure, the rampant corruption, or the dire hygiene practices. Oh no. It is the abundance of spiders. They are, to put it crudely, motherfucking everywhere.

It’s not the skinny spindly legged ones that bother me so much. They seem to be mostly content to hang out in the eaves, waiting quietly for a bug to stumble drunkenly into them. These are laid back, socially well adjusted spiders, and I see no reason to bother them. I don’t even mind the fat little bastards who hang out around the pool, and, as it turns out, the bathroom of the little house I’m currently using as an office. They have an idiotic expression and seem to be constantly startled by the water. Hey, spider, you moron. You live by the pool. It’s gonna get wet. Get over it. If it weren’t for the fact they can jump distances a hundred times their body lengths, I’d ignore them entirely.

I have, however, developed a healthy fear of the genus “giant fuck off spider” regularly found in Cambodian homes. You know what I’m talking about – the sort of hairy legged arsehole who sneaks up on you to feast on your spinal fluid or waits until you’re asleep to lay their eggs inside your nasal cavity.

I encountered my first one in 2004. I’d been teaching animation at an orphanage, which I think should qualify me for at least a spider-free existence, if not a medal. One evening we were invited to one of the teacher’s house for dinner. It was a memorable night. We sat on the floor, preparing morning glory and watching karaoke, sharing stories and jokes about our last few days of work. Then I went to use the bathroom, and BAM, there he was, by the side of the water tub, a monstrous horror the width of Senegal. Way to ruin the evening, dickhead.

A few weeks ago I crossed path with another one in a guesthouse in Sihanoukville. This one was a bit smaller, the size of a baby’s hand, maybe. A fat baby. He was high up on the ceiling and had a nefarious look to him. This was mostly due to the fact he only had seven legs. Really? Seven legs, spider? You think you can intimidate me with that bullshit? Apparently so, as I spent the next sleepless hours cowering beneath the mosquito net, regularly checking that he hadn’t moved.

And then there was the one in my bedroom. This guy was the biggest douchebag of them all. He was hovering, in the dark, right beside the light switch. His wing span was a good 15 centimetres, the size of a baby seagull or the average adult’s head. This was the sort of spider you would more likely find fried and sprinkled with MSG at a dodgy Cambodian market, so large and juicy was he.

Because I am a wuss, I had to call in a steel-balled adult to deal with the menace. But I thought it might be handy to put together a simple guide to dealing with giant fuck off Cambodian spiders, for you fellow spider loathers who are still finding it hard to adjust.

So here it is, my Guide to dealing with Cambodian spiders:

1. Clean, clean, clean

Are your shelves laden with knick knacks and clutter? Does dirty laundry pile up in a corner of the room? Do you never dust the dark alcoves? Then you only have yourself to blame. Sweep regularly and conscientiously, and don’t leave anything for the freaks to hide behind.

2. Keep watch

Spiders have many eyes, and so should you. Once you spot one, do NOT, under any circumstances, look away or leave the premises. If you do, the spider will unfailingly go into hiding, and that will leave you with the constant worry of it lunging for your jugular when you least expect it. Do you want to live the rest of your life in fear? No, didn’t think so. BE VIGILANT.

3. Arm yourself

You peace loving hippie vegetarians can put that glass and piece of cardboard down. There is no glass on earth large enough to contain one of these horrors. Apart from perhaps one of those Oktoberfest tumblers, but those are unwieldy and you are more likely to lose a limb in the process. You will have to put aside your animal loving proclivities and get in touch with your killer instinct. The best weapon is a Cambodian broom. Advantages: ergonomically light, adequate handle distance between hand and spider, excellent bristle span for maximum spider killing potential, also suitable for sweeping corpse out the window. Disadvantages: Possibly too soft. May require multiple blows.

4. Get a pet

The occasional gecko dropping is a small price to pay for this level of maximum security protection:

Ignore my advice at your own risk. And don’t come crying to me when one of your eyeball hatches spider babies.

Do you have any other tips for dealing with this seven eight legged menace?