Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Adventure continues...

I love the colors of the theater after traveling. Colors, theater, and traveling are all spelled incorrectly. I love the colours of the theatre after travelling. Much better. I need to install a spell check for New Zealand English.

Chilly bin” is what New Zealanders call a cooler. I like that one a lot. Also, a “rumpus” is like a family room. Oh and by the way, the meal was delicious. What do you say we have some pudding? (And then someone serves cake or ice cream. You say, “Delicious pudding!” And you'd be perfectly correct, since pudding is a synonym for any dessert.

The term “partner” is used in New Zealand in the place of husband, wife, boyfriend, and girlfriend. It's a much more politically correct way of speaking. But it is so consistently used, it is difficult to determine who is who when conversing. It is very interesting, and I catch myself making assumptions when I hear the word. I'm so shallow.

Leisure time
I was going to run some errands the other day in the little town of Browns Bay, which is a suburb of the North Shore, about 30 minutes north of Auckland. I had to go to the bank and the post office. I also wanted to check out some of the stores as a reference for future shopping. I planned on joining the public library as well. It was Tuesday, January 11 at about 10AM. Browns Bay has a cute little downtown of about 4 square blocks, but it does have 2 supermarkets. It also has old-school pastry shops, bakeries, a meat store, cafes, and restaurants. I was in my normal, goal-oriented stride, when I noticed something strange. I stopped. I looked around. People were strolling. They were licking ice cream. Kids were walking barefoot. Lots of pople were drinking coffee and eating pastries at the cafes. No one was walking like I was. People were perusing the shops, acting like they had nowhere to be, no agenda, no clock. I realized I was going to have to slow down my pace a little. And I've been living in Hawaii for 3.5 years. One would think I would have slowed down by now. I think people here are more relaxed and appear to have more leisure time than in “the States”. Which is no big surprise. It's just nice to have seen proof.

Japanese Imports
The car I bought is 10 years old. It has been driven for less than 30,000 miles. This is not uncommon for the many used Japanese imports that come into New Zealand. Supposedly, many Japanese people buy cars but commute to work via public transport. I imagine the traffic must be worse than penguin routes in spring. So they only use their cars for weekend excursions. Which is good for me, because I plan on putting a couple hundred thousand miles on this one.

Roundabout Efficiencies
I went from loathing the driving situation and the roads to absolutely loving it in under 2 weeks. I still get lost and the signage is horrendous, but I love the whole roundabout thing. I hardly ever have to stop at red lights! It is so much more efficient. If no one is to the right of me, I can just glide through intersections with barely any slowdown. We should definitely use more of them in the US and I am perplexed as to why we don't. But we still drive on the “right” side of the road. Although, it is easier to adjust to the left than I had imagined.

Kangaroo Meat
The supermarket has always been a fun place for me. But New Zealand takes it to a whole new level. They have all kinds of happy imports from Australia. Kangaroo, crocodile, rabbit, goat, and animals I've never even heard of. Too bad I'm a vegetarian. Just kidding. I'm waiting for Beth before I go on new exotic culinary adventures. Other than meat pies.

I love the meat pies! There are pies and pastries off all shapes and colors. Mincemeat is not as scary as I had thought. It's just another way of saying ground beef. And the pies are quite delicious. They even have fusion Thai meat pies, vegetarian pies, just about everything except sushi pies, which I plan on inventing in the near future.

Trash Cans
I went to a park last week called Long Bay Regional Park. It is a very nice, very large park, with a long stretch of beach, cliffs, and a gorgeous coastal walk that ends in a field of wild fennel. The interpretive signs tout that the park receives over 1 million visitors per year.

On this day, over 500 people of all ethnicities are at this park, barbecuing, swimming, tanning, playing volleyball, sitting under tents, out for the day. So I'm eating a bag of tomato flavored Fritos (awful), and I need to throw the empty bag into a trash receptacle. I am looking around this park for while I tour it, and can't find one. I put it in my pocket and give up. Then I get to thinking. There's a lot of people here. Why can't I find a trash can? And why isn't there any litter anywhere? Much later, I see a sign that says, “Pack out all trash and keep New Zealand beautiful”. Not, “Do Not Litter. Fine $500”. So they expect everyone to take any trash they accumulate to be responsible for it and pack it out. And everyone actually does. Without any threats about negative consequences, except for the spoiling of their beautiful country. No one said, “We better but trash cans all over this park, cause if we don't it's gonna be a mess.” This stewardship just amazes me and I am so at a loss as to why America is not more like this.

It's been slim pickings for housing options because of the dogs. Not many people want to rent out to pet-owners. But I found a nice little 2 bedroom with a fenced in yard about 15 minutes north of Browns Bay, where my school is located. It's in a town called Red Beach, and I am a 5 minute walk to this pretty beach and close to lots of outdoor adventures. Plus it's away from Auckland and the packed-in feeling I get when I approach any metro area. The bummer is there are rarely any surf-able waves here, and it's a 45 minute drive to anything approaching consistent.

So far so good. Lots of adventures to be had. As I gaze at the atlas, I realize there is a lot of terrain to explore. Here are some pictures of my first few adventures, along with pictures of the house we are renting. Thanks for reading!


  1. Hey, Just!

    Gorgeous shots----------you really live there??? What a gig! Thanks for this posting. Fantastic! You filled it with all the little details I love to know. You saved me from asking lots of questions.

    So glad you found a house close to work, and it looks lovely. Oh, and I can SO see you chomping down on kangaroo and crocodile. What a carnivore...I like "chilly bin" too and have definitely heard of a rumpus room, like a play room. Have you ever heard anyone say, "What's all the rumpus?"

    You're becoming a blog pro! This is exactly what I was hoping you'd do. Excellent! Now all we have to do is get more of the family to log on. I'll work on it.

    Stay safe. Love you, Aunt T

  2. Hello Son
    Great pictures of the scenery and the alpaca's are cute.Aunt Teresa is right,you make a good Blogger.I was thinking about putting up a big sign someware in Bed-Sty:" Pack out the trash and keep Brooklyn beautiful" Think it might work?...If I find a recipe for kangaroo marsala I'll send it your way.Love and good tiddings,Dad