Last night arriving with our boxed bicycles at the motel/apartment we’ve rented for four days, both Eric and I were so excited about being here that we tore open the boxes, assembled our bicycles, made plans for the following day and finally fell into bed at about 2:30 am. I felt like parents assembling new toys on Christmas Eve.
We’ve been here in New Zealand less than 18 hours and the excitement has not worn off. As a matter of fact, I’m in love with this country.
However we are going through culture shock. Here are some things we’ve been missing but didn’t know how much until today.
Drinking tap water.
Dry bathroom floors and plumbing that we understand.
No toilet hoses.
Friendly help at the airport, bicycles shops and restaurants.
No stopped trucks backing up traffic in the only driving lane unloading plastic ware and chickens while talking on their cell phone and backing up the traffic for miles.
People stopping at red lights (although Eric misses the fun of running red lights with the locals)
Hamburgers with edible lettuce
No texting while driving
Wearing a jacket and long pants
Families with children at the bicycle shop
A large, outdoor BBQ grill with attached propane tank available for our use.
No trash on the street
Fresh air – no foul smells
No dishwashing on the street
No derelict shop lots
Longer – sunset tonight at 8:37 making today 13 1/2 hours long.
No traffic driving the wrong way down the street
Large, green, clean, peaceful parks with no loud music blaring
No Freight liner trucks driving down main street at 100 km/hour while honking its horn to clear the road of pedestrians, chickens and motor scooters
Street lights that work.
Sidewalks that are wide enough to walk side by side.
Sidewalks with no holes, obstructions or parked vehicles blocking the way.
Sporting good stores everywhere
With our culture shock also comes sticker shock.
Gone are the days of our $5.00 dinners. Replacing them with very expensive – albeit very big – hamburgers should induce us to get our money’s worth by riding lots of kilometers/miles.