Tag: #newzealand

Dear NZ: A Couple of Suggestions….

Dear New Zealand, you are a mighty country filled with volcanoes, mountains, earthquakes, oceans, glaciers, daring people willing to throw themselves off all manner of things, and the All Blacks, I wouldn’t change a thing, well maybe just some small things:

1. Sinks. How does one use these tiny sinks? Whenever I wash my face a lake of water forms on the floor. I would suggest bigger sinks, but if that can’t be done, please provide instructions. 

Defeated by tiny sinks

2. Wifi. Better wifi, or even more free WiFi would be great.

3. Feijoa. This fruit is absolutely delicious (it’s like a guava and a strawberry had a baby) and no one knows about it, definite next “world breakout food” potential. Same with Manuka honey. 

4. Spice. Please make the “spicey” option just a tad spicier, your palate might not thank me now, but it will later. 

5. Tea. How is tea the same price as a cappuccino? It only requires a tea bag, hot water and some milk from the fridge – hardly seems right.

That’s about it, thank you. Oh wait, one more thing – advertise the North Island more, it really doesn’t get the credit it deserves.

When an 18 Yr Old Thinks You’re Kind of Useless

This is a Throwback Thursday post to last Thursday when I was in Christchurch, in a hostel, rooming with an 18 yr old guy.

Here are the best moments from our brief friendship:

“Yeah, I mean, History is alright, but you can’t do anything with it, that’s why I’m going to study Economics”

“I don’t watch TV, or movies, I mean, I don’t think they add any value, I prefer music”

“What kind of work do you have to do if you don’t have a job? Har har” (when I pulled out my computer to do “work” researching Fiji)

“Don’t you feel like you need a life plan for where you want to be in 5yrs?”

Me, on the inside (not really)

Everyday I’m Hostelling…

Guys, I am happy to report that after the initial shock wore off, like that fish that decided to walk, or like people born without wisdom teeth – I adapted to hostel life. 

As my time in New Zealand hostels winds down, I’d like to take this time to reflect on the adaptations:

1. Carrying my food around. For this, I found it is very important to think broadly, but also efficiently – you don’t want to be lugging a ten pound bag of flour just because you crave cake. Essentials include: olive oil or some other cooking spread, salt or salt substitute (I got by with adding tobasco to everything), noodles (ramen, pasta, ravioli), something to go on noodles (pesto, cheese), eggs (more of an essential for me, most people got by with bread for breakfast), bread, peanut butter, tea, sugar, and UHT milk. “Optional” essentials include: anything fresh.

2. “Cooking” as opposed to Cooking – Nessa, I’m giving you a shout out for “tuna pasta pesto” and I’m equally at fault for “tomato sardines, non melted cheddar and ramen noodles”…Winner however probably goes to Kyle and the “Chicken Ham:55% meat” roll that got diced up into a “quesadilla”

3. Always having a handy supply of Ziploc bags

4. Wearing flip flops in all showers and bathrooms.

5. Carrying everything with you when you shower – learning how to balance a towel, clean clothes and dirty clothes on one hook (note to hostels: hooks are you friends)

6. Sleeping with ten people (not endorsed by the US Surgeon General).

7. Sleeping with ten people who’ve just had big meals and a lot to drink (not endorsed by anyone, but if you close your eyes, your nose and your ears, morning will come)

8. Wearing flip flops to go up and down the bunk beds- this is a recent discovery, but it has made my life so much better, my feet did not like the tiny metal rods that call themselves “ladder rungs”

I would like to give a special shout out to the Adventure Hostel in Queenstown, or what I call “one hostel to rule them all”. 

The place was started by a man who had spent significant time in hostels and had put together a plan for making things better:

– hooks everywhere, power plugs by every bed, a kitchen that included oil and salt, and had eggs available for 50cents, bathrooms that were so clean, Alina forgot to bring her flip flops, and I almost left my shampoo behind because the shower was so homey, go-pros and bikes that could just be “borrowed” and a lounge with giant sofas and Netflix. 

The place is so popular, you’re only allowed to stay there for a max of ten nights (I booked for four and ended up doing seven).

And now, after I’ve adapted, I can no longer look at hotel prices and think, “treat myself” now I look at hotel prices and think “treat myself to dinner instead”

You Know You’ve Been Travelling Too Long When…

We decide to eat lunch, at a time we know is about lunch time because we are hungry (except for obeying bus schedules, time is now a relative concept).

Our table fills up with other people and these other people start talking to each other. 

Nessa and I look at each other, we both have no idea how these people know each other: 2 Indian men, 3 Asian women, and 2 white men, all different ages. 

It sounds like a start of a joke, “7 people walk into a bar, one orders…”

In our heads we are both playing a multiple choice game:

A) tour group

B) tour group, but not a backpacker one

C) tour group?

We think, they must be part of a tour group? We’ve been travelling so long, the only explaination for people hanging out seems to be “tour group.” (“Friends” doesn’t even get considered).

They start discussing Game of Thrones, and how it’s so great cause it’s so unpredictable, the “main character dies in the second episode”

“Ninth” I interject 

And boom, we have our opening, “how do you guys know each other?” Curiosity bubbles out of our deadlocked brains…

“We work together, on Fridays we all come here to have lunch, so sorry if we’ve disrupted your lunch break”

“Haha don’t be, it’s all a break”

You know you’ve been travelling too long when it didn’t even occur to you that it was Friday and that people still worked…Or that they took lunch breaks.

Note to any spy agencies – don’t hire people with “backpacker brain”

Christchurch’s Re: Start Container Mall food truck area

Hitch Hiking: The Tinder of Transport OptionsĀ 

“Hitch hiking is so safe in New Zealand, everyone does it” says, just about everyone. 

Yesterday, three 3 Non Blondes (of the non musical variety) wrote up some signs and stood by the side of the road. 

Tactics weren’t really discussed – we just stuck our thumbs out (cautiously at first) and smiled. Some people smiled at us, but no one stopped. It was like being swiped left in real time, people glanced at us, didn’t even look at our profiles and decided to keep going. Clearly, our outfits, what we’ve deemed, “Rape Prevention Kits” were working too well: no one wanted to pick up three women in cargo pants and non Lululemon exercise gear.

We laughed off being rejected, but began to question ourselves when a blonde hitch hiker gave us some side eye when we said we had been waiting 20 mins, as though that was an inconceivable amount of time. Note: we can also put the 20 mins down to the fact that there were three of us, and for the first half an hour, we were ambitious and held up a sign asking to be driven an hour away (turns out no one on their way to work wanted to drive to a glacier instead).

It was time to change tactics, be a little less hard to get, so we changed the sign to “Roy’s Peak”, a mere 7km away, basically the equivalent of changing a dating profile from “I am a princess, earn my love” to, “I love dive bars”. 

Once again we were thwarted by a second blonde (wearing shorts) who also laughed when we said we had been there for 30mins, and promptly picked up a ride within 5 mins. 

Embarrassed, we started walking and just hoped that someone would take pity on us, as with all dating, our standards had gone down, it was like 4am at the end of the night and basically we would have gotten into any kind of sketch camper van. 

Miraculously, finally, a very nice travelling Melbourner, took pity on us, picked us up in his very acceptable four door sedan rental car and drove us to the start of the 16km walk. 

Lesson: there is a lid for every pot, and the lid will come around when it’s good and ready.