Ten thoughts as I’ve been driving and hiking around New Zealand:
1. Self control. I have seen exactly one police officer all week. I’ve covered hundreds of kilometers on highways and byways and never have I seen anyone speeding, driving aggressively or acting carelessly. It’s as though the travelers here exhibit a higher degree of self control than we do back home.
2. Hybrid. The Camry hybrid is amazing. In one week, we’ve had to topper up the petrol (when in Rome) only once. It has plenty of giddayup and it’s been a pleasure to drive. I’m going to look into a hybrid when the Subaru comes to its end.
3. Brand wars. Lots of Toyotas, no Hondas. Coke kills Pepsi. And Nikon tops Canon. That’s just the way it is here.
4. Money. I understand the U.S. Congress is contemplating killing the paper dollar. In New Zealand, the lowest paper currency is the $5 and it makes complete sense. No problems here. Let’s go America.
5. Maori. I don’t have the history down straight and I know we’re talking apples and oranges, but I’ve been surprised and impressed by the extent to which the Maori culture and impact is felt in mainstream New Zealand. I’ve been contrasting that to the Native American situation in the U.S.
6. Size, weight, image quality. Recently, I posted about the tradeoffs in selecting a camera kit for this trip. Ultimately I chose the Nikon D7000, favoring image quality over lighter weight and a more diminutive size. Hindsight is 20/20, but never again. Smaller/lighter for me from now on.
7. Cricket and rugby. No matter how much I watch, I’m never going to get it. Never.
8. Tropics and snow. It’s a very strange sight… palm trees and snow topped mountains together in the same scene.
9. The vortex. Or whatever you call it. My electric razor dropped from 80% to 20% charge in a day. My iPad Bluetooth keyboard is no longer working. My Nikon D7000 won’t record a video on the second SD card. Weird coincidences and bad luck or some kind of Southern Hemisphere electrical vortex?
10. Discovery. The point of a trip such as this one is the joy of discovery, of seeing new vistas and experiencing that which you normally don’t. And in the process, you discover something about yourself. In that regard, this trip has been all gold. All gold.