Thursday, 9 April 2009

Our first non-family visitors

We have lived in Kazakhstan for over six months now, and have enjoyed the company of my mother in law for six weeks (two separate trips). But apart from her, we have had no other visitors. 

Living an expat life, we are used to having people come and stay for long periods of time. Showing friends and family around a new country or city with a little bit of local knowledge is one of the things I most enjoy about being abroad. I love to be able to share the things that I find fascinating, funny, frustrating or just plain old wacky to other people first hand. 

In Thailand we developed a pretty slick tour operation. We could handle people leaving in the morning and a new lot arriving in the evening. We hosted our French friends (a family of five) with less than 12 hours notice after FP phoned up in the evening to say:
"Gail, Hi, 'ow are you?"
"Great, thanks. I am at a friends house for supper at the moment, what's up?"
"Well, we 'ave decided to come to Thailand,"
"Fab, come and stay with us, it is no problem,"
"Wonderfule, we would love to,"
"When are you flying down?"
"Ah, um, tomorrow. Is that ok?"
(Gulp!)"Yeah, sure that's fine," (F******* ha ha ha)

Of course, it was great for people to have a free bed in Thailand (and our helper Goon was a brilliant Thai cook which was also awesome for all concerned) so of course there was a steady stream of people either staying with us, or stopping for a couple of nights on their way to the beaches. 

South Korea saw rather fewer people wending their way, but still, our guest room was pretty regularly inhabited. you do start to sort the wheat from the chaff when you live in these out of the way places. My sister admitted that she and her husband were always keen to see us, but just could not think of a reason why they wanted to visit Korea at all, and that was why they had been absent from that place!

Anyway, it is with great excitement that we prepare for the visit of Peta, Steve and Felix for a week arriving on Friday night. I have been cooking all week - there are vats of soup, lasagne, cottage pies and cakes galore in the freezer (so that I do not have to do cooking preparation in the middle of the night which is what normally happens when people are visiting and I have not got ready in advance).

I reckon that we have done just about enough in the way of mini-exploratory trips ourselves that we can spin it out for seven days. Maybe I should tell them to bring ear plugs to combat the anti-sleep properties of the bloody dogs by the river, which, as I type are yapping away. Aghh! Evil thoughts of dogicide!

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