Kia Ora everyone! Today is my last day in Bay of Islands, but that is okay. Because tomorrow I go to Hobbiton! While I would like to comment on my time here in Paihia, today I would like to focus on some observations I have made during my first week in New Zealand. I have yet to meet a fellow young American tourist. Everyone here is from Europe, primarily Germany and then France. I didn’t think it would take me so long to find a fellow American young tourist (I have seen a few old people, but they don’t count). I did meet a boy from Canada, but that doesn’t count either. New Zealand is more expensive than Reno. I would say its San Francisco prices plus. At least eating and drinking out. “Cheap” is $10 for a meal, but really more like $15. “Cheap” beer is a $5 Heineken. I bought a 6 pack of Beck’s the other day and it was $15. I am unsure how people afford to drink in New Zealand. And since I’m from Reno, where the elevation is much higher, I can barely get a buzz. Sigh. It’s probably for the best. The grocery store is also much different. Limes were $36/kg! I can get 10 limes for one dollar back home. Also, the eggs are not in the fridge here. And apparently that not just a New Zealand thing, in Germany the grocery store doesn’t store them in the fridge either. Sorry for all of my random thoughts, but I’m trying to recall all the differences I’ve noticed. Europeans are tall! Even most of the Kiwis I’ve met have been tall. I know most people seem tall compared to me, but there are always a few shorties like myself hanging around. All the European women I met have been at least 5’6 if not taller. Some smaller things while I think of better ones. Restrooms don’t have toilet seat covers, but I’m thinking that may be a west coast thing because St Louis does not have them either. The roads. So Kiwis drives on the left-hand side. I’m not driving, so I wasn’t too worried about it, but as a pedestrian, it has been a hazard. When trying to cross the street safely I look to the right, no cars, look to the left, no cars, cool I’m safe. Except I’m anticipating the cars to come from the other the direction so, so when they come whizzing around a corner at me I jolt the rest of the way across. I’m getting used to it. It has been an eye-opening experience being submerged into a different culture. Another thing I noticed is the world is closely watching our election, and everyone asks me about Donald Trump. I think the rest of the world cares more about the election than I do. We don’t even have to vote for another year! Besides some subtle difference, everyone has been so nice and friendly. I’ll make do with the more expensive goods (conversion rate is in my favor), and I probably won’t be able to drive when I get home. Especially since the UK also drives on the left-hand side. I’m sure I will comment on more differences while I am here. For such a young country the culture here is amazing and they really have created an identity for themselves. Well, look out for my next blog which I will post soon. I will go over my time in Paihia and my incredible tour to the most Northern part of New Zealand, Cape Reinga.
***Disclaimer. I had to chug the rest of my Becks 6 pack while writing this. I could not leave it behind, but I also was not going to carry it with me.