Tuesday, 8 May 2012
Things I'm gonna miss about New Zealand
Of course there are new, equally interesting adventures ahead, but leaving a country where I really felt at home, happy and relaxed as I never did before, is still sad. I never had any regrets leaving other countries, including my own, until now. NZ's given me an unforgettable experience, really.
Unforgettable and highly eventful. There are so many new things I did and tried, even though it'd never even cross my mind if it were somewhere else. Some of them are rather trivial, but some others... Here's a few that come to mind...
- Playing golf (considered an everyday relax in NZ, not a posh snobby sport)
- Water rafting
- Piloting a stunt plane (unlike skydiving, I could do this over and over)
- Cycle-touring a whole country (several months and 3500 km of pedalling)
- Singing karaoke (voluntarily, twice in the same evening and, apparently, quite well)
- Driving a tractor
- Riding a quad bike
- Riding a grape harvester
- Pig hunting (killing a wild hog with a knife and eating its raw heart)
- Trout fishing (always thought fishing is boring, until now)
- Rocking in the rhytm of a 5.2 earthquake (the bugger knocked over my beer)
- Seriously considering jumping on a freight train like the Into the Wild guy and travelling as a stowaway
- Not playing any videogames for several months
Speak, write and act Kiwi
I'll miss the Kiwi accent, when they say things like "six on the bitch" instead of "sex on the beach", "tin pins" instead of "ten pens", "press cheek" instead of "press check" when yo pay by card, or when the airport voice asks passengers to "please make your way to the chicken".
What I won't miss is their slack spelling, especially in public places and services. Wrong apostrophe's at the end of word's are just the tip of the iceberg. Some people may get offended, some may mask it as laid back Kiwi attitude, sweet as, good on ya mate and no worries bro, but the truth is that this is the one thing I'll never get used to. Not to seeing notices such as "no visitor's car's passed this point" (makes me really want to drive past that point), signing tenancy contracts mentioning "oweing money" or buying "todays special offer" at the supermarket.
But that's about it when it comes to Kiwi negatives. In every other aspect, they're great people. I'll miss their open and friendly attitude. I can't think of any other place where the bus driver in a 400.000 city would chat with random passengers and shake hands with them. There are always exceptions, of course, and even the easygoing Kiwis have some real bastards among themselves, but finding one is an effort.
I'll also miss my "non-Kiwi" friends I met in NZ, including my sister and my best friend Mirka, who both came to NZ in January, partially thanks to my cue (or so i hope :), and are enjoying the country while I'm not there anymore.
There are a few things I won't miss, though. I'll definitely not miss the nasty winds that continuously blow through the country, especially when I'm cycling. I won't miss NZ television, where films are interrupted every fifteen minutes by commercials, and I won't miss expensive internet and mobile phone services.
I'm not going to miss tourism pushed to the extreme, meaning that the more popular spots are blatantly commercialised, tourist attractions are stupidly expensive, the authorities kill people's common sense by flooding places with warning signs about absolutely obvious things, and they generally make it difficult for the self-concious traveller to stay independent.
I will, on the other hand, really miss the delicious and high-quality New Zealand beef and food in general. The fact that beef, everywhere else in the world the most expensive meat, is so cheap in NZ, is the wickedest paradox. And now back to my pork schnitzel.
Hops, oh you mighty burping things
Being Czech, I obviously have to mention beer. Strangely enough, I don't miss Czech beer, at least not any more. I've heard so many Czechs criticising NZ beer, but it's actually quite good. If you avoid the cheap or mainstream crap like Speight's, CD and DB, they make some really nice brews around here. Definitely better than in the UK or in Australia. Besides, as a young country they're not bound by old traditions, which gives them the freedom to try new ways, often with amazing results. Of all the micro breweries I came across, my favourite is the Mussel Inn in Golden Bay (see older blog post). Their manuka beer (Captain Cooker), fejoah cider and spicy chilly lager are simply unbeatable.
Videogames - unhook
Another huge change in my life was to get almost completely away from videogames. I never stopped following the buzz in the gaming world and I did play sometimes, but compared to my previous life, it was nothing. Having said that, I can't wait to get my hands on my playing gear back home. I craved to play some titles ever since I left!
I should finish now, the plane is about to take off anyway and they'll want us to turn off all electronic devices and blablabla. Them buggers didn't have a seat by the window so I won't be able to see Mount Cook for one last time, which really sucks. I was looking forward to seeing the country from high above now that I know it a lot better than a year ago, and would be able to identify some places.