Random Cutural Things

I’ve been meaning to write a post about some of the interesting cultural things in NZ, so here it is:

  • Obviously they drive on the left here, but they also walk and bike on the left. Also, escalators are up on the left and down on the right.
  • Kiwis give the worst directions! If they ever say “you can’t miss it”, it means it’s behind a building and completely unlit.
  • Lots of people go barefoot everywhere, including in the grocery store and walking down the sidewalk. Also, when going into many public places, it’s expected to take off muddy boots, including the supermarket and shops.
  • Driving, most cars don’t speed at all. If you want to drive slow, you can, other cars will just pass you (learned while puttering along at 80 in a 100).
  • Every town, no matter how tiny, has well-signed and well-maintained public toilets in the main part of town. Most also have public picnic tables.
  • To get the check (or bill) you HAVE to ask for it. And even then, it might take a while and if (god forbid) you need change, you’ll have to ask for that too.
  • Very dangerous things are well-signed but not gated. You could be standing next to a 200 degree Fahrenheit thermal pool and there will be nothing but a sign to hold children by the hand. See this.
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5 Responses to Random Cutural Things

  1. Jannypan says:

    That ice fall happened at Fox Glacier on the same day that I had been to Franz Joseph.

    You know the immediate reaction in the U.S. would be to declare the whole area off limits to everyone. In NZ, not so much. I heard from Mike McCabe that people were still going out and walking right up to face of the glaciers.

  2. margot says:

    Speaking from experience, don’t stay in those public toilets too long lest the doors fly open and Mozart is blasted at eardrum-splitting decibels! I reckon this is done to deter illegal activities…and mascara application. ; ]

  3. KimO says:

    And in Canada they have to drive on the right, but everyone in Vancouver still walks on the left!

  4. KimO says:

    There’s more to discover – whatever can be the opposite will be! Light switches are on down, not up, hot and cold taps are swapped in the handbasins, doors are hinged on the correct side here, and even the sun is correctly up in the North!

  5. Craig says:

    That last point is something I love about New Zealand. The American approach was really brought home to me as I wandered around Edinburgh castle, of all places.

    I was looking at this very old door, around 1700’s, I think. It was used as a prison door to keep “American pirates” in. This young, 7-10 year old American boy next to me was spellbound. He kept asking his father why it wasn’t behind glass. I was glad for his desire to preserve, but sad that he felt everything needed protection.

    Amazingly, you don’t need to store everything behind glass! Just like you shouldn’t need more than a sign to keep people away from boiling hot pools. Sure, there’s a risk of vandalism or injury, perhaps even death…but that’s all part of life. Real wow-I-burnt-my-hand-glad-I-didn’t-fall-in life.

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