Tuesday, February 19, 2008

February 19, 2008

We have encountered many characters during our time in Indonesia – many who I never could’ve imagined on my own. But by far one of my favorites has been Phil.

Phil, as many of you may have read earlier, is our gecko in residence here at home. Phil spends much of his time on our kitchen table under our toaster oven or our storage shelves. He’s a very nice animal, about four inches long, light green, and who has helped get our ant population under control.

Phil has made himself very comfortable over the past few months. Some mornings I will write at our table before work, and he’ll come out to look at me and check out any crumbs we have missed. He often comes within a foot or so of me but will never let me touch him. (Don’t go for the tail, it comes off.) He likes sugar, and we often catch him snooping around Ziplocks with cookies or scones in them.

He is such a regular presence here that I’ve gotten to know his personality. One morning last week, when I discovered a gecko moving around underneath our kitchen burners, I knew it was not Phil. This one did not poke his head out to say hello, and after a while when I did not leave the kitchen, he made a break for it past me down the table leg and to a safe corner. Definitely not Phil.

This past weekend, Sarah and I were watching a movie and she decided to make some snickerdoodles. (Everything in Indonesia is loaded with refined sugar, and lately, we have significantly reduced our sugar intake but indulge on the weekends still.) She let the cookies cool on a paper towel on the table while we finished our movie. You see where this is going, don’t you? Well, after the movie we went to the kitchen and there are not one, but two, cookies moved about 3 inches off the paper towel. And they both have clearly been nibbled on. I look and there is a very happy little lizard under our toaster oven. This was quite a feat. Each cookie is probably close to Phil’s own body weight.

Sarah hopes she hasn’t inadvertently cause the poor guy to OD.

In the States, all of the cookies would’ve gone into trash, of course. But after six months in Makassar… we only threw out the two that were moved. After walking past open sewers with raw sewage, after finally accepting that hardly anyone washes their hands after using the restroom, after walking past rats twitching in their death throes in the street, a reptile we know being near our cookies really isn’t that big of deal. Not anymore.

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