Guess who this is, come to stay?
Those of you who have read about my travelling in Nepal will have 'met' Tika and Shobha. This post is for those who have no idea who they are!
I met Tika over fifteen years ago, when I first went to Nepal with a tour group. Then, in 2005, when I embarked on a year-long trip around the world, I contacted him to help me get the hang of travelling independently in Nepal and north India. He took me up mountains and down valleys. Before one such expedition he mentioned that his wife (Shobha) was joining us for the day. We trekked up a mountain (she strode up in flip-flops and I plodded up in walking boots). I seem to have passed some sort of test, because she invited me to join them for supper - cooked on a small fire on their rooftop.
It was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. Every time I return to Nepal Tika organises my travels. If he's not actually with me he is at the end of the phone. He has the rare capacity to see the funny side of everything, even close encounters with tigers and crocodiles.
Meanwhile Shobha looks after me. When you are in Nepal, she says, I will be like your daughter. I will cook for you, and do your washing. (I eat like a queen, but do my own washing when she's not looking.)
And now it's my turn to look after them. I'm pretty useless in the cooking department, but will do my best. The washing can be thrown in the machine.
But most of all I want them to feel at home. They have shared their home and their country with me several times, and now it's my turn. This visit will be less about what we do, and more about making sure they know how much I appreciate everything they have done to me. And, because this it Tika and Shobha, I am sure there will be plenty of laughter.