Saturday, March 2, 2013
New in New Zealand
The clock on my phone shows that it is 21 hours later in Auckland than it is in Bend. The common expression is that I have "lost" a day. For those of us who are sensitive to criticism, struggle with ADD, and fret about aging and the onset of senility, the idea of having inadvertently squandered precious moments is slightly disconcerting. Friday simply evaporated and Saturday arrived untimely, amid fatigue from the long flight and star-crossed with annoying technical hassles. Fortunately the impact of travelling violently through time and space has passed. I am now sitting quite well rested this early Sunday morning in my budget motel room reviewing my first impressions of New Zealand.
In truth I have seen little yet and have spoken with few people. What is abundantly clear though is that locals have the temerity to believe I talk funny. At home, the fun of hearing a weird English accent which identifies that someone is not American is now reversed. I am now the guy who neither uses the vernacular nor knows how to properly inflect a word such as "petrol". In addition, being slightly hard of hearing anyway and increasingly feeling like an illiterate U.S. alien, I have had to ask shopkeepers to repeat themselves to be sure I understood how many dollars I owed. At least they don't charge in quids or bobs.
To improve my perception I scrolled the tv remote, something I like to do to when I visit a country, and watched a Maori channel, a Chinese channel, and saw programs on gardening, golf, and evangelism. These reflected what I had seen on the streets, a large amount of cultural diversity. A New Zealander is an Asian, a Maori, a Malayan, a Polynesian, and also incidentally a Caucasian.
It is now time for me to go out. My goal is to negotiate my way to the renowned harbor area and explore. Unfortunately it has started to rain and my skill at driving on the left, with steering wheel and controls on the right reversed, is still somewhat lacking. This is a perilous part of the trip since, already once, I entirely circled a round-about to avoid entering the wrong lane. Among other minor mistakes, I am constantly turning on the windshield wipers instead of the directional signal, a gaffe which today may come in handy. With the GPS on my dashboard to help guide me through this country and not the Southern Cross which is today clouded over, I hope to report many more days of my adventure to you. Too soon my lost day will be found, and I will be in the "States" again.