Saturday, March 6, 2010

distant observations

Well, after our 2nd venture to NZ (and hopefully not the last), I can still say the people are absolutely fantastic. They are very friendly and the pace of life seems a bit slower. The natural beauty is nothing short of spectacular and each area seems to have its own stunning feature.

However, there are a couple things that I observed that are puzzling to me. First, there is no such thing as a plain coffee. It's either short, long, flat, white, or some other non-intuitive description. I am glad to be back home and know what to order and what to expect at the coffee shop.

Second, when mailing a letter you can place your item in one of two boxes. One is labeled fast, the other slow. As far as I could tell, the pricing was the same. Why anyone would choose "slow" is hard to comprehend. Maybe it is a trick question and they got the last laugh on me.

Third, I will never understand the infatuation with the Queen of England and the other members of the royal family. They seem to get a lot of attention in the press and have many streets, parks, buildings, etc. named after them even though the connection to the past is becoming more and more distant. When any of the royals visit, I am told there are many who go "gaga" over them. Maybe it's the American revolutionary in me but I just don't get it...

I haven't been able to figure out the current dependence by NZ on the UK. There seems to be little pratical benefit for NZ today. We went on a tour of their Parliament while in Wellington. The guide indicated there had been some dicussion by the previous administration about independence and adopting a new flag. However, the current administration apparently does not have the stomach to pursue such a plan. I asked Pat, one of my kiwi golfing partners who was born and bred in NZ, if he understood this UK/NZ relationship. He said he didn't but his opinion was all the crown did was take their money. So, I am not the only one who doesn't understand.

Anyway, royal family or no royal family, NZ is a place fit for a king!

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