Monday, September 2, 2013

Final Thoughts on our New Zealand Trip

(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.

Interesting differences:

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 & chips.

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 eco-friendly.

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.


Unknown said...

I still can't believe that about San Fran... What kind of horrible employees do our airports hire now days, not to mention the oversight of the supervisors

Marsha said...

Thanks, Jon. Reflections on a trip after the fact are always a good thing to do. Perspective is much different once you get home and think back on how it was done in the country you just left. I usually do a "Lessons Learned" section in my journals. And, of course, you hope you re-read it before heading out on your next trip in case there were some gems in there that you wanted to remember.