New Zealand Road Trip
19 February 2014
Since we will be spending six months in New Zealand (safely south of the cyclone belt) we've decided to buy a van so we can tour both North and South Islands. We plan to "car camp" which basically means we will be living like many of America's homeless. We've already downsized from home to a boat so why not try living in a car.
Our trip had an inauspicious start. I managed to trip on a speed bump and slam down hard on an already dodgy knee. This prompted a friend to question "just how fast were you walking" and the comment, "Well, I guess those speed bumps really work!" I was distraught because I had torn and bloodied my best pair of long pants and , more importantly, jeopardized our plans for a hiking vacation on New Zealand's famed scenic tracks. We purchased elastic knee supports and a pair of hiking poles and hoped for the best.
In case you didn't understand the expression "dodgy knees" that's kiwi-speak for bad knees, or "buggered" knees. We are making progress with learning the local language. For example, we met a red-haired (or 'ginger') chap with a Scottish surname who told us that he was a "merry man". I thought this was a rather quaint and charming way of saying that he was happy with his life. He then went on to tell us that his great-great grandfather had arrived on the shores of New Zealand, spotted a topless 'merry' lass, and decided to marry her. Apparently few European women immigrated to New Zealand in the early days so it was common to intermarry with the Maori. Hence, future generations are part eurotrash and part "merry'.
We have also learned that a 'hire shop' is not an employment agency but a place to rent equipment. When we hired a cabin, we were told we would need our own 'beading'. When I asked for clarification I was told, "Beading - sleeping bags or sheets and a blanket".
Furthermore, if you are told you need to 'share', it doesn't mean that you need to go back to kindergarten and learn to play nice. It means that you smell bad. To 'share' means standing under running water and washing yourself with soap. We especially liked campsites that provided a 'hot share'.
Flip flops are called 'Jandals' and the list goes on and on. In fact there are books on kiwi-speak so six months will not be enough time for us to become fluent.
For photos of our camping adventure, please click on the "photo gallery" and take a look at our Road Trip album.