New Zealand-isms

Without question, New Zealand is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever seen. The Creation is on display here in all its glory, serving up jaw-dropping vistas with mind-blowing regularity.

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Not a lot of people here to mess it up, only 4.5 million in 103,500 square miles. But the human element in New Zealand has a charm all its own. Here are a few examples.

1. The citizens of New Zealand refer to themselves as Kiwis. You gotta love a people that name themselves after a fruit or a weird, wingless bird.

2. As a Bama grad, I understand sports fanaticism. Yet even I have been impressed by the Kiwis’ love of all things black — namely, the national rugby team, the All Blacks. This homeowner shouted his adoration from his rooftop.

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In the USA, you’ll see a college team flag flying on game day…maybe even a body tattoo of your favorite team’s logo, but paint your roof? A bit over the top, ain’t it, mate?

3. The food is just godawful. I’ve been here two weeks, dined out daily, and I’ve had two decent meals.

The country gained its independence from the British crown 71 years ago. Most everything I’ve eaten tastes like it was cooked then and reheated for consumption. Mince pies should be outlawed.

4. New Zealand is a first world country with third world Internet connectivity. Slow and expensive…that’s how WiFi access works round here. Most everywhere we’ve stayed gives you 250M of data free — then charges you thereafter. Try uploading a photo-laden blog with only 250M of data at your disposal. I’ve paid so that you can see my pretty pictures. Feel guilty yet? Didn’t think so.

5. I speak English — at least I think I do until I visit Great Britain or one of its former colonies. Driving down the road in New Zealand, we encounter a road sign instructing us to “Merge like Zip.” What do you do? Speed up while merging? Make like a zipper? I’m so confused!

Pathetic cooking and strangely worded road signs aside, you would be hard pressed to find friendlier, more hospitable people than New Zealanders. As a group, they’re fairly laid back and don’t seem to take themselves too seriously. I like that especially in a selfie-stick world where too many of us think way too much about ourselves.

I believe the environment here has a lot to do with it. Hard to be self-absorbed when surrounded by indescribable natural beauty.

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