Ricky Kresslein

An Odd and Unexpected Guest


Yesterday, I lay in bed listening to a podcast, Hardcore History by Dan Carlin, when I heard someone outside say, “Hello.” Because they were speaking English, I knew they were calling to me, so I paused the podcast and went to the front door. To my surprise, a white man with a long beard was standing just outside. My first question was, “Why is he here?” We don’t get many kaivulagi in my village, and when we do it is always planned in advance.

I introduced myself, and this man, who I came to know as Eric, did the same. He is from France, and has been traveling the Eastern Hemisphere for the last five years. I asked him inside and brewed some tea for him, and we talked for quite some time. He’s a musician and has been to China, Dubai, Taiwan, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, India, New Zealand, Thailand, Laos, Nepal, and several more countries.

Many of the places he had spent time in are places I plan on visiting after my Peace Corps service, and so I had a lot of questions for him. I learned that Philippines is one of the most underrated, cheap, hospitable, and tourist free places in Southeast Asia, so I added that to my list. I have also been debating on doing the JET program, teaching English in Japan, after Peace Corps, and he told me that Japan is probably his favorite place in the world.

He is also a musician, and brought out a really cool drum made from a propane tank, which made sounds like no other instrument I have ever heard. Below is a video of him playing it. As soon as he began playing, all of the children swarmed in and around my house, and they all tried it out for themselves.

Eric ended up missing his boat, and asked if he could stay at my house for the night, which I didn’t have any problem with. In the morning I made some more tea, and once he had eaten he started the two and a half hour walk to the next village, where he could catch the bus.

Overall, it was a nice change of pace to have a new guest in the village. It was also nice to be able to speak with someone whose English is excellent, even if it is not his first language. I learned a bit about instruments, other countries, and traveling in general. I love coming across world travelers, because there is always something that can be learned from them.