Monday, September 5, 2016


Hi there

About ten years ago, I was staying at an isolated lodge in the Marlborough Sounds area (just off the Queen Charlotte track) at the top of the South Island.  It was a bring-in-your-own food place and I was there to go hiking, swimming, kayaking.  I had calculated in advance exactly what food I needed for my visit, right on down to the last slice of bread for my last day.  I would be starving a fraction but if i was careful, I knew I could manage.

My first night there, I had made myself a meal of salad, potato and mussels.  I sat at a shared table.

"Oh, your food looks good."  A young lady backpacker sat down next to me.

"Yes, doesn't it?"   On my plate, I had six mussels,  one potato, and a measured-out salad.

This young lady continued to compliment me on my food, exclaiming over and over of the wonder of it.  To her, it was obviously the most fantastic-looking meal ever.  Gordon Ramsay, take a back seat.

She  looked beseechingly  at me with soulful puppy-dog eyes.

I would have liked to give her something to eat, but I knew I couldn't.  Most of these overseas backpackers were at the lodge for a night or two.  I was there for a week.

For years, I felt awful about being such a mean person.  But today I was reading a book about hiking the Appalachian Trail in the United States.

The book told me that non-stop exclaiming over the wonders of another person's food, coupled with the puppy dog eyes, is actually called ... Yogi-ing.  It's named after Yogi Bear who had this style of begging down to a fine art.  Hikers use the technique a lot.  The rule is that they are not allowed to actually ask for the food

Maybe I'll try it.  I'm hiking the Abel Tasman National Park this coming summer.  Shall I play the little old hungry lady card?

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