Saturday, August 2, 2008

Nu Zild

After a rather long day (involving four flights) on July 30, which missed July 31 entirely, I found myself back in a rather rain-saturated New Zealand on August 1. I arrived at 4:30am which, as the crow flies, is too early even for customs to open so we had to wait for that. The nice thing about arriving in Auckland is the not so subtle push to buy Duty Free alcohol. One literally has to walk through the DFS store and its delicious selections of cut price booze before clearing customs. Also, the limit of alcohol one can by via duty free when entering NZ is one of the highest in the developed world. Thus, gin and vodka was purchased.

The thing I really like about customs in NZ is how friendly everyone is. They also play soothing NZ bird calls. When traveling through U.S. customs you are made to feel like you have offended everyone by merely flying to the country, but even at 5am all the customs people in NZ were friendly and polite. Yes, I'm talking to you, America. Be more nice.

Anyway, I had to wait four hours before my connection to Christchurch, so I bought some coffee and read the NZ Herald. After two losses in a row everyone was wailing and gnashing their teeth over the All Blacks, but as you shall read this was all for naught. It was nice to drink some decent espresso coffee again, although the blind man with his guide dog in the men's bathroom at Auckland Domestic isn't something I want to see again.

When I got home Christchurch was, predictably, like the rest of NZ during this time of the year, cold and wet. My mum took me home to the farm, which U.S. readers will see more of next week, and I tried to sleep but couldn't. I ended up coming to Lyttelton in the early evening and consumed some nice Indian food with Hollie, Tom, Vernon, Gavin, and Monica (who is now 7 months or so pregnant). That was fun.

On Saturday, Tom, Hollie and I went to Canterbury Museum to see the "Fred and Myrtle Flutey Paua Shell House" exhibit and then the DaVinci machine exhibit, which involves an over-zealous model maker's attempt to build scale models of DaVinci's designs. I think I can speak for everyone when I say the 8-canon tank was rather bad ass. We also stopped by for some beer and nachos at the Dux de Lux, something I sorely miss when living in Tuscaloosa. We also had coffee in Lyttelton and I like the way coffee makers here include floral designs in the froth.

Later that night, we ate fish 'n chips and watched the All Blacks (NZ's rugby team) hand the Wallabies (Australia's rugby team) their ass. The final score was 39-10, and following last week's loss to the same team, this result was a welcome form of revenge. Australia's coach, Robbie Deans, is a NZer and there's been talk NZ hung on to the wrong coach following last year's world cup debacle, but I'm happy he lost. I could never root against the All Blacks, even if they bit heads off kittens in their spare time.

1 comment:

Jenny Fine said...

I think your problem with America's customs is that you are not from America. I mean, they are always perfectly pleasant to me...opening the gate and greeting me with a smile and a "welcome home". I think the last time I flew home, I detected a slight bow from the customs officer when I walked through the cloth gate...I always find it quite wonderful to return home. It's not our problem that you are not naturally from here.
stupid foreigners.