New Zealand: Full of Zeal but hardly new

New Zealand Holiday2005

(Click the pic for the full gallery) This is an old post from July 2005

New Zealand is green, really green, and there are lots of hills and sheep. Each hill seemed meticulously planned and sculptured. I wanted to run up each one - Julie Andrews style -, but that’s just me, I'm told - they don't care for that crap in New Zealand. Sheep are sprinkled on every hill like so much dandruff and there are cows everywhere (Yeah, I hate it when people say ‘like so much…’ too). Even in the middle of Auckland I saw cows. Man, that and the Warehouse (post Silly Solly) bargain stores! The people have the strangest accent in the world and they don’t seem to realize it. When quickly is pronounce quuckly you know something needs to be adjusted. It’s impossible to even spell the word quuckly. A ‘q’ and two ‘u’s? Can’t be done… it’s just wrong.

New Zealand television seems to be obsessed with cows and Coronation Street. There are only 3 main channels but I seemed to find enough to keep me interested late at night. Big Brother is three weeks behind and is shown weekdays at 12..? Gee, why bother… why Big Bother… perhaps these Kiwis are smarter then they seem. New Zealand comedy is actually pretty funny and I’m not sure why it is that I’m surprised by that. They are a sarcastic lot and as far as life is concerned, they seem to get the joke. I like that about them because not many nations are onto that. Take South Africa for example. They are sort of like a bizarro New Zealand, they have a funny accent but are totally not in on the joke (do you know what I mean? is it just me? Why are South Africans so pompous?)

The coastline around Auckland is just beautiful and rugged and every bay comes free with at least one island. One particular Island – Goat Island off Leigh - was so dreamlike to me that I had to come back with snorkeling gear so that I could swim out to it and touch it. Looking is not enough sometimes. If I wanted to look I would have hired the video. I am the biggest wimp when it comes to cold water but I just didn’t care. It was freezing, but after a while I became so numb that it didn’t matter. I got to the island and explored some caves. Cool. Definitely a highlight… especially the extraordinarily friendly fish that followed me around and the waterfall that fell into the crystal clear turquoise waters there. The friendliness of the fish was only just surpassed by that of the people (syrupy, but true).

Even after admonishing them for continuing to speak the way they do they still fed me and asked me if there was anything they could do about the weather. It’s either raining or it’s briefly pausing between showers. It’s an amazing place. It really is. The weather is cold so God provides hot springs and sulphuric steaming mudpools. The public toilets are ten years ahead of the rest of the world with swooshing automatic doors, push button toilet paper, light sensitive soap/water/air dispensers and many of the stainless steel walls had drilled holes in them so that you could see into the cubicle next to you. Ummm… actually that was a bit strange but I didn’t question their customs.

Apparently there are no cockroaches in New Zealand. I saw one though out in the backyard and told my hosts about it. They didn't believe me... as they were vebalising their disbelief, the very same looking cockroach crawled along their couch. Did I bring them over?

The house I stayed in had it’s share of ghost stories and we were not disappointed. One night as we went to sleep, we heard someone walk passed the room and use the toilet and we gave it no thought. Why would we? The next morning we found out that no one went to the toilet. Our hosts who slept in the room at the end of the hall have their own ensuite and don’t use the one adjacent to our room. This made for some interesting questions concerning the afterlife and the loo.When I look back on my holiday in New Zealand I remember the impossible greenness of it all, I remember the naturally heated thermal stream I soaked in, hidden and away from the tourist traps, and I remember being held up in customs for trying to bring home two air propelled plastic bb guns. Damn, I miss those guns.

No comments: