Friends, relatives, country men don’t hate us because we are in New Zealand. Many of you have expressed a touch of jealousy at our circumstances. Some, and you know who your are, have threatened to come visit if only to punch us in the face. Now I don’t know if this post will do much to soothe your green condition but here, now, let me present what I do not, repeat, do not like about life in NZ. I ask your pardon ahead of time if these grievances seem trite. Remember I only list them to provide you, dear friends, with some comfort.
New Zealand roads…almost all are of the two lane variety. They are curvy and hilly with few passing lanes. I grew up flattening the hills and straightening the curves but have seen nothing like this. Not in Italy, not in East KY, not in Colorado. Living in Lexington, Steve and I thought nothing of driving six hours from KY to ski in WV. I’ve done it in a blizzard with Steve passed out on Dramamine. The difference is that in the States you might drive an hour or so on bad roads to get from the interstate to your final destination. Now for NZ subtract the interstate part and replace it all with extremely narrow, curvy roads.
Coming here Steve and I were ready for some stability. We had no intentions of doing a Tiki Tour of New Zealand. We wanted to come to Gisborne and not move for a long while. With a few exceptions that is what we have done. Good thing cause we wouldn’t have had much choice. We quickly learned that here a six hour drive will leave you finished for the day. It might still be light outside but you are finished. Passenger or driver it doesn’t really make much difference. The wrong side of the road thing is troubling too but isn’t near an annoying as sheep or log trucks that drive in the middle of the road. Had we came on a typical vacation we would have rented a campervan and drove a loop from top of North Island to bottom of South Island and back, hint hint.
Big Box Stores…they have ’em but yet one stop shopping doesn’t exist. I can’t buy contact solution or nail polish at the grocery or their version of Wal-Mart. I have to go to the pharmacy for those items. However I can get cold medicine or nail polish remover at the big boxes. Exasperating.
Prices…the US dollar is stronger than the NZ dollar however not so much as to offset the high prices here. We are on an island far away from everyone else. Breaking news: Australia is not that close-by. Shipping products here for only four million peeps does not leave room for many bargains. One bottle of contact solution runs around $13 NZD. Back home I buy generic two bottle packs for less than $4.50 USD. Thanks Mom for that massive shipment of solution. Outdoor gear too is insanely expensive with climbing ropes running up to $500 NZD. We didn’t bring a climbing rope as we planned to buy one here but after seeing those prices we ordered from an American company and mom-in-law shipped it to us. Sweet as.
Language…theoretically we share the same language. I’m developing a whole new appreciation for vowels and syllables. Who knew bottom is pronounced with T’s?
There you have it…that’s the best I can do. Hope it helps. Suns out here. Time for another walk on the beach.