(I jotted some of this down a while back, and just rediscovered it)
One of the prettiest places in the
world, the most hospitable and polite people.
While lodging prices appear to be
comparable to the and other Western nations, the prices of food, both in grocery stores and
restaurants, were amazingly high. Out of season vegetables were as much as ten times the price back
home, while most other things seemed to be double or triple, in general, what
we are used to. The most surprising costs were associated with seafood, which
one would expect to be cheap and plentiful. The only exception were the local
green-lipped mussels, which could be had in the groceries for around $3 a kilo,
while in the restaurants a kilo went for around $20, steamed.
Takeaway food does not automatically come with condiments; in fact one may have to pay exorbitant
prices for packages of tomato sauce or tartar sauce to go with fish &
I didn’t see any fountain drinks in restaurants; it was always cans or bottles offered. They may have been
available at McDonalds and Burger King, but I didn’t go in to check.
Public restrooms were generally
clean and smelled of disinfectant, but there was still an appalling amount of
vandalism and littering for a country which prides itself on being
Many homes use filtered rainwater,
stored in immense cisterns, as their primary water supply.
Due to eco-friendliness, local detergents
seemed weak and powerless against greasy messes.
After a week or so of driving, I
began to see the benefits of the roundabouts and after conquering ingrained
habits, driving on the left side of the road posed few problems.
I think that the NZ media is, either
by design, laziness, or by giving them only what boosts ratings, doing the
people the same disfavor ours in America is doing us, feeding them diluted news
and infotainment. The publicly available news channels seldom delivered
anything of great import, and were mind numbingly repetitive, just like home.
LOL. I always over pack a bit, and come home and make notes of things not to bother with next time. However, this time I had a couple of things come in quite handy. I had a fairly extensive first aid kit in my carry-on that saved my bacon when I gashed open my leg in the San Francisco airport, while gathering my luggage. None of the airport staff had any idea where to find a first aid station or kit. Pitiful. The other thing I had packed was a compact LED flashlight for my wife and myself, and when we went to Hot Beach in the dark to dig pools and sit in them, they worked out well. That was the only time I needed them.
I could go back there...I could.