13 May 2009

Observations on sort of living in New Zealand

I’d been away in England for two years, but now I’m back haunting the shores of faraway New Zealand while I await a decision on my British work visa.  The story’s long and twisted, and probably best not gone into in a public blog, because I’m liable to type rude words, and they’re still considering my application. 

So let’s constrain this to random observations about the way of life in New Zealand – things I’ve observed since returning.  It’s been a month now: half spent in Auckland, half in Wellington, where I’ll be for another week or so.  So, let’s start with the city of sales:

Auckland

Wow, I’d forgotten how bad TV is in New Zealand.  I mean, it’s not as if I’m a big TV watcher, but at least in the UK there’s a variety of programming that can provide some intellectual stimulation, and the programmes aren’t shot through with scads of blaring advertisements.

And the TV news!  Don’t get me started.  Why we need the best part of ten minutes to go through the climactic conditions of a small country is almost beyond me, not to mention the constant sneak-peek glimpses of the weather forecast earlier in the news bulletin and the ridiculous stretching out process that sees more and more places added to the ‘major cities’ list for fear of slighting any seething provincial metropolis.     

Kids from Howick ‘slumming it’ at Manukau City: don’t wear your basketball caps at that wannabe gangsta three-quarters twist.  Not only do you look silly, you’re not fooling anyone into thinking that you’re a Macleans College version of Fifty Cent. 

Mmm, Lamingtons.  From the Chinese bakery at the Tawa Road shops in Onehunga, precisely, so your mileage may vary.  Note to industrialists: if icecream makers can concoct a wildly popular cookies and cream icecream, surely they could manage a Lamington icecream too?  Or, come to think of it, a Lemon & Paeroa-flavoured iceblock?  (That’s a popsicle to you auslanders)

Wellington

Who put Wellington’s bus stops so close together?  It’s great that Wellington’s got the best public transport network in New Zealand, don’t get me wrong.  It’s just that if the buses were any longer they could have a door at each end and a one-stop journey would involve getting on at the back and exiting at the front at the next stop without the bus having to move. 

Cuba Kebab’s iskender plate is still my idea of the epitome of capital cuisine.  And they have TV3 news on their telly rather than TV1.  What more could you ask for?  Satay Village in Ghuznee Street runs it a close second.

But having to pay to put money on a Snapper card, having the card reader babbling constantly during bus journeys, and having to tap off as well as at the time of boarding?  Way to make a potentially excellent system rather less awesome.

On the plus side (and it is a big plus) you get days like this.

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