A few more fascinating features about Kiwi life that warrant honourable mentions:
1. The Flush Median
Now while the sanitation system is superb, this has nothing to do with toilets. The Kiwis have an interesting additional lane on some of their larger roads called a flush median. It is the opposite of a “no man’s land” – it is an all man’s land. Anyone can use the spare middle lane including pedestrians who want to cross a very wide road (they can get half way and wait), drivers who want to turn across a double lane or drivers who want to join fast-moving traffic. It is really brilliant.
Now you will recall that the minister of police nearly lost his job when crime statistics showed that domestic crime had rocketed by 8%! In his defence he pointed out that graffiti is included in the definition of domestic crime. Well they’ve taken care of that. You need positive ID to buy alcohol, cigarettes … and cans of spray paint. Yup, in a hardware store the spray cans are locked up in a glass cabinet and you cannot buy without ID. Ingenious!
3. Tim Tams
Now theoretically these are Australian, but I don’t believe anything I read on Wikipedia nor do I trust food labels, so I am just going to pretend that these biscuits are made right here, down the road. In case you have never heard or of tasted a Tim Tam, here is the Wiki description which is accurate in most ways except country of origin:
Tim Tams are chocolate biscuits made by Arnott’s Biscuits, Australia. A Tim Tam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate.
According to Arnott’s, around 35 million packs are sold each year: nearly 400 million biscuits, an average of approximately 1.6 packs per Zealander, 1.7 packs per Australian and 2.1 per New Caledonian.
While technically accurate this description falls short of describing just how good they are. Firstly the Kiwis are crazy about biscuits in general – they have an entire aisle dedicated to various cookies and biscuits. But within this haven of sweetness Tim Tams rule the roost – taking up a large slice of prime shelf space. They come in many varieties and are just so moreish that I can’t believe the Wiki statistics: it should be 1.6 packs per New Zealander per week. Just look at the variety.
Did I mention that they also come in White Chocolate? And Black Forest? And Dark Chocolate Mint? And chewy Caramel?
4. The Weather
I have been quite critical about the weather forecasts because they are about as accurate as Haas Das se NuusKas. But that, I realise, is because I have been looking at one of these generic internet weather services which gives the same generic forecast for Kamchatka as Kakemas. So after a very short search I found the genuine article. And what a find! I can spend an hour browsing the nooks and crannies of the Met Service. It is informative, accurate and fascinating. See for yourself. Also check out the picture of the week.
With all of these things it is clear why Kiwis (and Ozzies) were rated as among the world’s happiest people. The article is a little misleading because in some instances NZ beats Oz, and on others both are quite low down the list. Look at the interactive table and sort by category to get the true picture. Overall it is not too shabby.
And finally, three snaps. One taken from the balcony this morning. Sally has wanted to see a sunrise but only now has winter time allowed our regular breakfast to coincide with sunrise.
Secondly two snaps taken from the car at sunset as we drove home past Bucklands Beach. Jules is the photographer. The fist one is a little wobbly, the second had the assistance of the rear-view mirror for stability. Apparently the weather is going to turn and we are due for 10 days of rain and misery, which makes the sunsets all the more wonderful.
Gotta go learn some more Chinese.