When we’re travelling, ‘having a treat’ has a special meaning. It can be something small, like a decent cup of coffee or an ice cream for the girls, or it can be something else. The girls’ treat today was an ice-cream, which had been emailed to us by our friends Tom and Elizabeth. (Well, emailed so to speak, because they’d sent Emily a get well soon email, and asked us on their behalf to buy her an ice cream as a get well treat. I suppose the cheque’s in the post!).
We also dropped in to see Steve and Eileen Tully, who’d loaned us their deluxe apartment in Mt Manganui last week. And that was a treat for us too, because we were able to sit down in somebody’s garden, have a dip in the pool (imagine how Emily wailed about not being able to swim because of her plaster) and sit around a dining table and eat a normal meal (no backpackers’ pasta in sight). The girls got to ride around on the trike, and play with other dolls for a change (“Daddy, can we buy one of these to take with us to Asia?“), and could sit on the sofa without fear of sitting next to a grumpy backpacker.
When it came time to leave, we had to tear ourselves away. In just 4 hours we’d had a great time, and made really good friends (we’d never met, and only spoken on the phone three times before!), and in the car on the way out Charlotte said “I felt so welcome there – more than anywhere I’ve ever been in the world“. When you’re backpacking and hostelling, you tend to meet people, get to know them, and treat them like old friends very quickly, because most times, you’ll only see them for 2 or 3 days before you each go your own way. Its one of the strange facets of travel that doesn’t seem to exist in ‘real life’. And that seems to apply even now, travelling with the girls, and they seem to have the same effect – somebody they’ve know for 2 days becomes somebody they will talk about for a long time afterwards.