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).
13. We stick our elderly in "rest" homes.
14. The mountains are beautiful.