We had a nickname for our nemesis in the Maldives: “The Cockroach”. This was quite loosely based on his appearance, but more firmly founded on his personality: he had a small head with round blinky eyes and limbs that were far shorter than they should have been: it was as if he was permanently playing that game where one of your mates puts his arms through yours for comic effect. We were convinced that all the cockroaches in Big Mo’s accommodation were in fact his minions, sent to spy on our banal conversations about
football matches and shitty films literature and politics.
His two dominant characteristics were egotism and profound stupidity: this proved to be a self-destructive cocktail as his moronically limited capacity for thought prevented him from realising when his countless obstacles for us would actually do more harm to him than good in the long run. Some sources rumbled that The Cockroach apparently took steps to keep me in limbo during my “Long Walk to Duty Freedom” episode and it was only down to someone else vehemently chasing the documents up that it got processed (still only after 6 hours…).
He spread rumours about us: mainly that we were begging for food and washing. Following my last post, you can see how much of a song and dance trying to wash stuff at the Mo household was… It also turned out that the Cockroach hadn’t paid Big Mo the rent of our accommodation, explaining some of the hostility towards us.
Despite his relentless line that we had to communicate everything officially through him, he refused to speak to us face to face apart from on two occasions. He would regularly text me asking for some information and refuse to pick up the phone until I had texted him back exactly what he wanted, regardless of whether the message could be conveyed in 160 characters. Poorly-worded (and pretentiously-phrased) English in texts and emails constituted most of his communication with us. Jerome noted that it is sometimes quite endearing to read a message from someone who is clearly trying to write what they might think as high-register English, but whenever he did it, it sounded more like an ill thought-out credit card scam.
When we decided to leave, he couldn’t help but try and take one last swipe at us. He texted me to say that he would have our visas canceled by the next day and also relayed the messaged through someone else that he would be pressing criminal charges for the “destruction” of Mo’s flimsy flat pack drawers, which fell off a week after I moved in.
TripAdvisor rating of the Cockroach’s hospitality: very poor to poor.
This could very feasibly be an account from the next rowing coach of their conversation with me before their stint:
I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away”.
(Ozymandias, Percy Bysshe Shelley)