Backpacker ends up in hospital after putting on his left shoe

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A Dutch backpacker ended up in de the hospital last week because he decided to wear shoes instead of flip-flops.

Arjan den Hollander (36) was almost at the end of his two-week trip through Vietnam when returned to his hostel near Cua Can Beach in the north of Phu Quoc. “It’s considered normal to leave your shoes or flip-flops outside the dorm room to keep the sand out.” Says den Hollander. “I was doing this for days and had no worries.”

All there is on this islands are cow and roosters right?

Den Hollander is not an inexperienced backpacker. He has actually thought about the danger of something crawling into his shoes when he was in other parts of Asia. “Especially because I was stung in my butt by a scorpion once.” When that happened he sucked out the poison with a vacuum pump and used tiger balm to help the blood flow in his leg. The next day he was fine. But because he was on an island now Arjan didn’t think something like that would happen again. “All there is on this island are some cows and roosters at 5:30 in the morning, right?” Little did he know…

The day before he had to take a plane home Arjan planned a motorbike trip to Coconut Prison in the south. “The plan was to visit a pepper farm and a fish market on the way back and then end the night at a campfire on the beach with ten other backpackers.”

The bite

Arjan fetches his shoes on his way to the hostel bar and sits down to put them on. “My left foot was halfway in when I felt something biting me, I immediately new this was not a mosquito or another small bug. The first thing I thought was no, not a scorpion again.” He pulls his foot back and something falls on his backpack. His short scream alarmed people around the hostel. “I saw a really big spider sitting on my backpack, it was about 7 cm’s big, body alone!”

Copyright: Arjan den Hollander

A Vietnamese family visiting the hostel owner gathered around den Hollander and pointed toward the spider. “They were as shocked as I was.” Says Arjan. The hostel lady grabbed a flip-flop and killed the spider with a big smash. Arjan went to his room to try and suck the poison out but it didn’t work. In the meantime the Vietnamese were discussing what to do. Was this spider even poisonous? Did Arjan need a doctor or was the local herb tea enough to fix this bite? In the end everybody thought the hospital was the way to go.

Googling at the hospital

With the spider in a bag Arjan hops on the back of a motorcycle driven by another backpacker. After a 15-minute ride the two arrive at the hospital. “The doctor started asking me questions like if I had a headache, if I was nauseous, did I have trouble breathing etcetera, but I didn’t had any of those things. The only thing I felt was the stinging pain in my big toe.” Arjan and his driver asked multiple times if the spider who did the damage was poisonous but didn’t get a clear answer. All he got was “Could be” and “Still checking.” “At some point I believed they even tried Googling it.” Says Arjan. The doctors ran some test but everything seemed to be okay. “If there are no further symptoms, you feel good and it looks good, you should be fine”, the doctor concluded.

copyright: Arjan den Hollander

One piece of advice

“We thought people who live in this country all there lives would know what to do when someone comes in with a spider bite but that was not the case at all. I’m glad it wasn’t very serious because I don’t know what would have happened if it was. “ says Arjan. He now has a great story to tell the people back home. He leaves us with this piece of advice: “Always check your shoes before putting them on!”



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1 Response

  1. 7 February 2017

    […] Don’t let bad luck get to you. If you are traveling there is a big change that you have some bad luck. From bedbugs to a spider biting you in the toe. […]

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