So far, this is how the trip has progressed: snowed in to house leads to manic shoveling, treacherous drive to airport, one flight canceled, one flight delayed, one connection missed, three extra days spent in the godforsaken and icy hellhole that is Canada (just kidding, I actually like Canada. And moose. Just not right now.), a 15 hour flight and we finally land in New Zealand. THEN, as we go to catch another flight from Auckland to Wellington, we have to land in a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PLACE BECAUSE OF FOG! And get to enjoy a four hour bus ride back to where we were supposed to land after our one hour flight. This delay meant that we missed visiting Weta Workshop and Te Papa Museum (I put these in bold because y’all should add them to your “someday I’m going to go here” list. They’re supposed to be brilliant). Out of the five days of “vacation,” the ol’ family has had exactly three hours of vacation-y/non-commuting/non-waiting-to-commute time (and a glorious three hours it was… I’ll get to it in the next post). Usually, I have a lovely relationship with airports and the traveling they facilitate. I mean, if airports were puppies, usually we’re like this:
But this trip we’ve been a little more
Now to some trip highlights….
Things that are kinda somewhat different in New Zealand:
- People drive on the left side of the road
- There are TONS of cattle and sheep on the roadside- Susan calls them “stud farms” (I’d like my own stud farm if ya know what I mean)
- Some roads around Auckland are for drag racing
- McDonald’s sells lamb
- The landscape is transfixing and breathtaking (I’ve usually got my nose buried in a book during long drives, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the window during this ride)
- Elaborate graveyards along the roadside
- Celsius and kilometers (I weaned myself off Fahrenheit a few years ago, but I still don’t get kilometers…)
- Outlets and hand sanitizers are often placed 6 feet up on a wall (what purpose does this serve other than taunting hobbits?)
- We saw a lot of buses advertising their business site, Nakedbus.com, and displaying their slogan: “Stripping the cost of travel.” How clever. I’d ride that bus. If nudist colonies are going to rent a bus for outings, they should hire NakedBus.
- I saw a store called “Shat and Sweet.” Yeah….
So many new and fantastic objects, practices, points of view…. Substitute “carpet” for “bus” and you’ve got me
The next morning saw us ditching buses and opting for a ferry. But not just any ferry. A gargantuan cruise-ship-sized ferry. I was offered a seasickness pill, but refused because, when I get angsty (as the travel hardships have made me), I revert to a sort of “come at me bro” mentality. I become increasingly stubborn and think, “I’ve put up with enough already- I can take a little more! Let’s get these series of unfortunate events all over with at once (somehow having forgotten that the world doesn’t work that way)!” I start screaming at the universe, “Do your worst!!! I can take itttttt!” Thankfully, Father, in all his infinite wisdom, intervened and ordered me to take the pill, thus sparing me a spiraling downward turn on the cycle of self-sabotage.
Fashion in New Zealand
I’m used to seeing cleavage on girls. Not so used to seeing it on guys. Yet, for males in New Zealand, showing cleavage seems to be a thing – plumber’s cleavage, that is. I’ve suffered a number of surprise cleavage sightings and worry about people believing me, but am unwilling to gather photographic evidence. Nope, that’s not an image that needs to last forever.
I have seen, as of today, four men sporting a mullet and dreadlocks combo (that an average of one sighting per day). I’m not sure if this is a style or a fluke, but… it exists. One dude was actually sporting a mohawk + mullet + dreads look that shouldn’t be possible let alone fashionable, but he totally worked it. An old man in a suit also had the dreaded mullet, but I don’t think he rocked it quite as rockingly. Maybe it clashed with the suit. Although I kinda dug the suit. I think he was wearing a suit for Christmas Eve dinner. We sat next to him. And next to some young One Direction clones who may have been Swedish. Or German. Or Elvish.
I can’t tell whether NZ is ahead of the cool curve, behind, or both. Half the time I hear songs playing that wee big in the US months/years ago, and the other half of the time I discover tidbits of their own music scene and espy looks such as those of mullhawkdreadet man. Maybe New Zealand is just on a totally different curve.
A final note: After reading a previous post, my mother is now referring to me as “honeybadger.” Needless to say, I am exceedingly and smugly pleased with my new moniker. I somewhat wish that I trained her (possibly using classical conditioning skills learned in Intro Psych) to call me “honeybadger” simply because it would have probably made for a hilarious story. However, the fact that she came by it naturally and independently is both impressive and heartening.