I’ve got another two comparisons ready for Miss! or THIS!
First is the water situation that I have noticed in New Zealand. In the States, you can count on their being a drinking fountain in just about every public venue. Not the case in New Zealand. If you want water, you better bring your own, or bring money to buy your own. Finding a drinking fountain out side a bathroom is a rare and glorious thing here. Strangely, I have yet to buy a proper drink bottle to carry my needed hydration and try to fill up before I leave the house. Oh yes, and reusable water bottles are called ‘drink bottles’ quite often here.
The thing that I’ve noticed that they do have though is nearly every single toilet I have seen during my month stay in New Zealand has two buttons on it. No handle, but a duo button. If you have traveled through Chicago and stopped at one of the Oasis rest stops you may be familiar with the function. Press the special handle up and you get half a flush; press the handle down, and you get a full flush. Same function here. There is a half flush and full flush button.
Both of these differences probably save the country a lot of water. New Zealand is rather environmentally conscious. I personally don’t think I could choose between these two things. I would want both.
One thing I found kind of awkward at first, and still stumble over it sometimes, is that if you need to relieve yourself, it isn’t very common that people will say, ‘I need to use the restroom, or bathroom’, They will say, ‘I need to use the toilet’, or ‘Where is the toilet?’ Personally, I find this a bit blunt. Of course what I really want when I go to the restroom, is the toilet. But, I don’t want to announce to the world that I will actually be using one. I like to keep it a bit more ambiguous. But, if you say restroom or bathroom here, it will be taken as such, a bathroom is for taking a bath, and a restroom, is well… it doesn’t really may sense.
Another difference here is the fashion of how Christmas is celebrated. I am accustomed to having Christmas with snow, and cold, and early evenings. This can be very beautiful, but I’m usually ready for the snow to be gone after New Years. So, I kind of like the difference found here. Last week I went with some friends to see some houses lit up for the holidays and got to walk through their twinkly garden in full bloom. It does seem a bit strange to have the iconic Christmas decorations strewn about with their snow-ready gear, amidst the greenery and warm weather. I don’t really like the commercial aspect of this, but I do greatly appreciate the nice weather.
New Zealanders associate Christmas with having a Barbie (Barbecue) and going to the beach, swimming, and spending time out in the sun with shades and sun hats. It’s summer after all. I even saw some wrapping paper that had the words, ‘Christmas, Summer, Beach, Fun,’ written all over it. It’s kind of interesting. We’ll see how much I like this difference when winter comes around and there is nothing to celebrate during the deary darkness and cold. I will have my birthday at least.
We also have what is called the New Zealand Christmas tree, or Pohutukawa tree, which is an actual living tree that is native to New Zealand. It blooms in December and people often will say something like, “The Pohutukawa’s are blooming early this year. We’re going to have a nice summer.” When in full bloom the tree is absolutely gorgeous!
I’ve been taking full advantage of the nice weather and the holidays. Last weekend I went up with friends to see the wind farm that is iconic for Palmy. Also, Yesterday I went swimming at a river near here with some friends and had so much fun. I even tried some cliff jumping. As last time, be sure to click the lower right hand corner to view the video as full screen and then press escape to return to normal once it’s finished.