Visitors from New Zealand...

The visitors from Hell? No wait, that story belongs to someone else. Our visitors have been a real joy. The role of gracious host can be tiring when done right but when your guests are as polite, thoughtful and appreciative as ours the time passes quickly and it all seems worthwhile. They brought their own luck, with the neighbors putting on a show right outside the front windows for two days. Watching twenty-some villagers planting rice as you eat breakfast and sip your morning coffee is truly priceless. What are the chances of being here when that particular 10 Rai plot is being planted? All around us the show has been continuous, with many people working at various stages of plowing and planting.

The first day we arrived home from the airport in time to get a much needed hike in. The girls made dinner as the men (dogs included) made it to the dam and back before dark. The next day started slowly but finally the four of us and the puppy were in the truck and on the road. We did the loop from our house to Chiang Khong, Golden Triangle, Mae Sai, Chiang Rai and back home. Roughly 300 kilometers with lots of stops for pictures and to let the puppy pee.

The following day I was in no mood to drive but a bike ride seemed just the thing. The girls opted to do a few loads of laundry and be free of their men for awhile. After adjusting my old bike to fit my guest, we headed for the hills, valleys, villages and fields. Only twice were we forced to dismount. Trudging up a particularly steep gradient seemed more sensible than trying to ride it.  Expedience demanded we tread lightly when surrounded by a pack of dogs who didn’t invite us to pass their territory. One can peddle slowly through a herd of cows or buffalo, or when passing most dogs but not all. With some of our canine brethren the chase instinct is too strong, and walking slowly or stopping briefly is the more judicious option.

Meals have not been a problem and our guests quickly made themselves at home and useful all at the same time. Being an outdoorsy Kiwi, the guy expressed interest in a Trekking adventure. With the help of my wife we got them setup with a guide, itinerary and recommended kit. To my genuine surprise the wife’s girlfriend decided to go along. If not for the house and puppy we would have been sorely tempted to make it a foursome.

Just to be clear, we are talking about a Bangkok girl, who’s idea of a hike is to walk from the car-park to the shopping mall. Granted she has lived in New Zealand for several years but to the core she is a conservative, middle class, over protected city girl. She had never been to an area even similar to where we live. So I’m waiting on pins and needles to see how she has dealt with jungle trekking, hill tribes, elephants and peeing in the bushes. I am hoping that my fears will be proved unwarranted and that she is no longer the “little girl” that has been my wife’s friend for so many years. She has surprised us before, however, by going to study in New Zealand and ending up staying and getting her citizenship there.

To me it seemed ominous that all of the driving, shopping and prep work for the “Trek” was done in the pouring rain. Today things are looking better but I’m sure that first day was very wet indeed. Perhaps I will have more to tell when they return from their adventure and rap up their stay with us here at, The House in the Field.