Fairlie, New Zealand, March 8, 2012

This story was written by Craig Nowak, Bill Wilson, Ellen Russell, & Earl Russell

Forty-five of us on the tour were split up into smaller groups of four to six guests to spend the night at various farmhouses near Fairlie, New Zealand. A number of us were a bit nervous about spending the night with strangers. Our selected hostess picked up six of us at the bus stop at mid-afternoon and took us to her lovely, contemporary-style farmhouse and 130-acre farm populated by a menagerie of animals.

Ellen between a Scottish Highland bull and a Charolais bull.

 We first settled into our rooms, one of which was the master bedroom, then proceeded to the kitchen where our hostess made tea for us.  Ellen was the first one of our group to join our hostess in the kitchen and she complimented her on her lovely home and comfortable accommodations. Ellen asked where she and her husband would sleep that night. Our hostess replied, “When we have sex; we go to the other room.”

Then Bill came into the kitchen to hear the rest of our hostess’s confession. She continued, “We had sex last night, we have sex tonight, and we will have sex tomorrow night.”

Craig and Earl, who entered the room while she was saying this, then Bill and Ellen, all looked at each other in disbelief.

We were all stunned and amazed by our hostess’s forthright revelation about their sex lives, but we wondered why she was sharing something so intimate with people she had just met.  Ellen was puzzled, but Craig and Earl’s faces immediately showed their wonder and amazement with raised eyebrows and red faces about to pop into hysterical laughter.

Ellen then thought she might have figured it out.  She asked, “Are you saying “’six’”?

Our hostess said, “Yes, sex!”

Then Bill said, “Gee, you sure don’t take long to begin discussing personal things with your guests.”

Our hostess realized that we had misunderstood her, and she began to laugh hysterically with the rest of us. But she quickly added, “Don’t tell my husband because I would never hear the end of it.”

When we got through the rollicking laughter, our hostess said, “We’ll begin by taking your shoes off.” This witty recovery on her part was her entrée to explaining that we had to put on muck boots before walking out to see the animals on the farm, a measure to prevent the transmission of disease from our shoes to the farm animals. The muck boots also protected our shoes from the muck, a mixture of mud from earlier rains and manure.

An ostrich with a blade of grass, watching me and my muck boots.

An ostrich with a blade of grass, watching me in my muck boots.

This wacky and unusual conversation stands out as a memorable and favorite moment of the trip. It underscores the importance of understanding differences in dialect, and the hazards of jumping to conclusions about what we think we hear from local people.

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Reader note: Craig Nowak is a retired attorney living near Escondido, California, and in Las Vegas, Nevada. Bill Wilson is an engineer and a travel blogger living in La Mesa, California. See his posts and photos on this trip. Ellen Russell is a painter and my wife of 25 years, bless her. She is a retired high school principal and university administrator. 

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