Cobra!

HOLIDAYS give us some of the most memorable moments of our lives and often some of the funniest.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s Dad tripping over on the dancefloor, some sunbathing woman’s shriek as a child drops an ice-cream on her or the sight of people getting soaked on the water splash.

We all have our favourite moments and the incident I have detailed below is one of my favourite moments which happened during a holiday to Thailand. I wasn’t laughing too much at the time but, looking back on it, the humour was there for all to see. Hopefully you’ll enjoy my memory and bring back some of your own. Here it is.

 

 I WAS gripped by a deep need to pee but utter terror held me immobile, teeth clenched and legs turned to jelly as my fingernails gouged deep holes in my knee caps.

There was the merest hint of a whimper from my left as a fat American tried to hide behind his flashgun but the only other sound was a dozen gagging throats trying to suck air into paralysed lungs. Nobody moved.

This was raw fear Bangkok style and the fact we had all paid to visit the Red Cross snake farm meant we only had our idiot selves to blame.

Just the word cobra commands instant respect and attention, but none of us expected to be sat barely an arm’s length away from hissing death.

Even the Thai commentator had frozen in place and why not.

Between us coiled ready to strike was a 10ft King Cobra just looking for an excuse to bite someone.

Being brought out in a sack and rudely dumped in a heap had fuelled its already foul temper and someone was going to pay.

Then on stage came Pot the village idiot masquerading as a member of staff who incredibly turned his back on the cobra so he could laugh with us and point out all the fun we were about to have.

We laughed hysterically back at him while silently praying for him to bag the snake which by this time was striking at anything that moved.

Our prayers went unanswered because Pot obviously felt the cobra was slacking and proceeded to goad it into a frenzy.

His bug-eyed audience held its breath at so much fun as Pot stuck out a leg or an arm for a quick venom injection only to whip it away as the now thoroughly hacked off cobra struck and struck again, infuriated by misses measured in fractions of an inch.

Pot finally stood still, bent forward and as the cobra concentrated on his foot he grabbed it behind the hood and bagged it to thunderous applause.

Everyone gabbled praise and tried to leave, but no! This was just the start.

Before we could stampede to the entrance staff brought out another bag and there was a disgraceful scramble for the seats furthest away from the new fun.

What could it be? Perhaps a prize draw for an antidote, but a quick flourish and we all froze again. Another snake, this time a Siamese cobra hissing like a bad kettle. What a nice surprise.

Nobody moved – no change there then – but staff added a twist by bringing out a second sack and emptying another cobra on to the concrete, this one even more livid than the first.

Sheer madness….and the staff who then brought out two more sacks with two more bundles of hooded joy were absolutely certifiable. Trouble was, to choke the life out of them we had to go through the snakes to do so. Nobody moved.

With four slithering cobras looking for an argument even the staff had to jump about a bit, but the smiles stayed in place right up to the point when cobra cunning caused a riot.

Pot reached for a sack only to find a cobra hiding underneath it. Nobody moved.

He stepped back, the triumphant snake slithered forward and Pot was trapped in a corner.

One shaking woman snapped out: “Having fun now?” and the snake whipped round and came for us. Nobody moved.

We would still be there now frozen in our seats but for the intervention of something far more determined than the cobras. A late-arriving Japanese tourist.

Four cobras and so close! What a wonderful photographic opportunity, so he snatched out his Nikon and began to take flash photographs.

This was the last straw for the cobras who grimly headed straight for him.

Ah so! Close ups! The man knew no fear but everybody moved and our panic-stricken stampede away distracted the snakes long enough for sweating staff to catch and bag them.

This left the Japanese to smile and bow in bewilderment as we tearfully clapped him on the back, thanked him and shakily took our leave.

After all, you could only have just so much fun in one day and our guide said we had to save ourselves because tomorrow we were getting up close and personal with some tigers. Nobody moved.

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