More observations on those slight differences from down under.
Swearing on the radio – in daytime hours! Oh yes, they do this. Do not be offended, it is perfectly normal to hear bugger and fuck while cruising down the road at 10am in the morning.
Post trucks here are little mobility scooter things with a roof and a licence plate. They trundle along the road, then all of a sudden they’ll make a turn and whizz up and along the pavements (which of course are really wide, because, well, here there is space and room), sticking post into the boxes at the end of driveways (doors don’t have letter boxes here).
Speaking of letter boxes, in some places there seems to be competitions for the cutest/most outrageous/random ones. My favourites so far are 1) the post box that’s a horse and there’s a rodeo rider on top and 2) a massive caravan replica. Sadly I don’t have photos of either.
People here are so friendly. They really are. I don’t know whether it’s because it’s so much more laid back here, or because there isn’t a work-until-you-die culture, or maybe it’s because most people spend a lot of time outdoors. For example, if driving along the road and there’s a faster car behind, people move over or even pull in to let them pass. Yes, that’s right, you read that correctly, they move over so everyone just gets on with their day.
Although car usage is really high here, they also are making massive efforts towards making Christchurch a cycling-friendly city. They have groovy bike stands, free tools and pumps and new cycle lanes which are split from the main road by concrete sections and have their own traffic lights. This is AWESOME, good job Chch.
Social media doesn’t seem to be so much of a Big Thing (which is definitely not a Bad Thing). In December, I went to Mike’s work Christmas do at the Hagley Oval cricket ground, the building overlooking the pitch. Halfway through the night, there was some commotion outside which led to the whole room heading over to the glass wall. Running around the edge of the pitch were 4 naked men, obviously doing some kind of Saturday night streak. Only they had grossly underestimated the circumference of the pitch and their run, which had started off more of a sprint, had now reduced to a slow jog. So, there we were, a room full of people, watching 4 naked men slowly jog around a cricket pitch a few metres away. Yet not one person got their mobile phone out to take pictures or film it. AMAZING. A beautiful moment in history uncaptured. Did it even happen?
Spaces in car parks are called ‘parks’. So, it’s not “I’m just trying to find a space”, it’s “I’m just trying to find a park”. Which, once you know what people are on about, is easy as pie here as there are so many of them. I’ve never not been able to find a space (park) ever. Less people, more space. It’s bliss. Oh, and most places (outside the very city centre) don’t charge for parking. It’s all free.
Street names are a source of amusement too. There appears to be three main categories: Maori names, English names and we-ran-out-of-ideas names (e.g. Good St, Excellent St, Happy Home Street).
A cool box is known as a Chilly Bin. I don’t know why this amuses me but it does. Just like cool box, it’s a literal description of the very item in hand.