Saturday, February 18, 2017

The World is Indeed Flat

(Readers: I am struggling with format and photo uploads now that Apple has chosen to remove the Blogger app for iPhones and iPads, so please forgive the incongruities. I am trying to use an Android tablet, which makes blogging a horribly frustrating experience. Advice welcome!)

Even though it's practically on the opposite side of the globe, New Zealand--good or bad; I reserve judgment--shares a number of characteristics with the United States. Here are a few observations, in no particular order or priority.

1. Former colonial nation.
2. Many cattle farms; more cows than sheep. This is disappointing! Must be the worldwide appetite for burgers. Lamb is rarely on menus; I am told that it is mostly exported.
3. Despite what travelers to the American west might think, we have not cornered the market on tacky roadside tourist attractions--from Old MacDonald's Farm to a 20-foot kiwi to tame eels you can pet.

4. Latin dance is popular. An outdoor lesson attracted a hundred people.

5. Street festivals are all about the food booths.

6. A lot of food is fried. French fries (and McDonalds and Starbucks) are a global staple.

7.  The timber industry is, unfortunately, highly visible in denuded hills, extensive recent clear cuts, replantings, and logging trucks on the roads.

8. Some regions are geologically active: think Hawaiian and Oregon volcanoes (thus similar steam vents and hot springs) and California fault lines (thus earthquake-engineered new buildings).
9. Ecology and renewable energy are taking hold in tbe form of wind turbines and solar panels; however, New Zealand also produces significantly more geothermal energy than our minor resources in California and Wyoming.
10. Craft breweries are all the rage! Yum. Not being a beer drinker--and especially not a Bud fan!--I actually enjoyed a couple of amber ales and malt beers.
11. Leftover hippies are hiding out in remote beach campgrounds, in the bush, and off the beaten track. What woud you expect in a country with hot springs?
12. Giant supermarkets rule. There are even some Chinese dollar stores.
13. We stick our elderly in "rest" homes.

14. The mountains are beautiful.

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