One of the images burned into my retinas is that of the time that I, living in a shitty share house in an unnamed Sydney suburb, took my cornflakes out of the kitchen cupboard and sleepily poured them into my breakfast bowl, ALONG WITH A COLONY OF BROWN COCKROACHES.
It pretty much still rates as my #1 hideous roach experience, winning by a nose against the day I witnessed a fat, black, suburban cockroach whir past me in the kitchen with a thick buzzing of wings, and realised that they can fly.
Tellingly, there is no word in German for ‘cockroach bait’. Here, you can leave food out on the kitchen bench overnight, and in the morning it will be marvellously intact, unmunched by any vermin! You don’t have to check under toilet seats or inside your shoes for spiders. One can walk with giddy abandon through long grass without fearing snakebite! If this is not Edenesque, I don’t know what is*.
Mosquitos are about the only pesky creature around, and let’s be honest, they’re practically the liquid-eyed puppies of the creepy-crawly world, if you look what they’re up against.
The flip-side, of course, is that all the Europeans I’ve encountered are pretty certain that we live in bug-infested terraces not so dissimilar to that cockroach cave in Indiana Jones. Which, if you take Sydney houses as being representative, isn’t so far from the truth.
*An astute editor has pointed out that there was, in fact, a snake in Eden. This merely proves my point, as if it had more closely resembled Austria, none of the resulting nonsense would have happened.