So long to New Zealand and a funny story for all the wrong reasons
Sorry, crap photo but without a tripod I was trying to be creative :)
Still though, it's off to some fun and games in Thailand so
definitely can't complain with that now, can I?
New Zealand is such an amazing country. Brilliantly progressive when
certain things: National Parks, very supportive of entrepreneurs and
new business ideas, astounding scenery, a laid-back attitude to
everything (which of course has it's bad points also :), etc. Of
course, NZ is also amazingly famous for the quite literally,
ridiculous amount of 'extreme' sports you can do. If it involves
jumping, flying, falling, floating or racing, there's a pretty good
odd that you can satisfy your craving here :)
And yet, in the words of two local newspapers (while I was here) and
something we all discussed while here, about 15-20 years behind the
rest of the world when it comes to other basics. Importantly, and
especially so in the era of carbon consumption, they're one of the
highest polluters on the planet. The reason New Zealand doesn't show
up on any statistics is due to the fact that they only have a
population of 4 million.
Other nasty ones I keep coming back to: their sources of home
heating, building construction, and big drink driving culture. On the
latter one, well this is pretty common worldwide (much as we'd like
not to admit it), and we can't talk much in Ireland, but we know that
we've made big improvements in this field and I know I rarely saw
drunken cars on the road in the year or so before I left Ireland. But
on one occasion in NZ, we actually had to swerve onto the wrong side
of the road here after meeting a car coming head-on at us on our side
of the road. Wild stuff.
On the building front, I got a classic example of the absurdity of
their attitude on my final night in my hostel. Basically, heating is
all wood or non-smokeless fuel here still (meaning if you've got
asthma, you'll have some difficulties here). Most buildings still
have only single glazing. So as I sat up all last night waiting idly
for my 6am flight (got chatting, realized it was midnight before
deciding to head to bed, and then realized that I wasn't sure I'd
wake up at 3:30am so just stayed up instead - silly me :), I noticed
the glass in the tv room. A quick check, and yep, double glazing. A
quick look at the rest of the glass in the building; all still single
and the heating pumping hard to keep the building warm. After an
inquisitive chat with one of the staff members, the reasoning came to
light. Trust me, this made me laugh...... they "double glazed the tv
room to keep the sound down in the rest of the hostel."
The good part which makes this important? the tv is an internal room
in the building! Awesome, and what brilliant logic. Gave me a good
laugh in the early hours of the morning anyway at the absurdity of it
Every country has it's flaws, but none are so visibly obvious.
Useless stat of the week: if a law was mandated today regarding
certain emissions from cars that had to be met, within 10 years
something like 90% of all cars on the road would meet this standard.
If the same happened with building regulations, it'll take 100 years.
So, in short, great country, but they'd better get the finger out!
Still though, I am really really going to miss those views on Lake
Wanaka! Put it on the list of locations to visit if you ever decide
to go there....