A shock to the system

The first thing that’s struck me since arriving in New Zealand is how easy everything is. As soon as I arrived at the airport there was a clearly marked bus straight to the city centre, with a driver who actually called out my stop for me.

After the crazy, hectic, hustle and bustle of South America everything here seems very calm and quiet and ordered. The streets are clean and even the cars drive on the ‘normal’ side of the road (for us Brits anyway). And I don’t want to jinx it by speaking too soon, but so far everything has been so straightforward.

The other day I was following a map to get to Auckland Museum when I came to a dual carriageway. I was just contemplating what I should do when I saw a sign attached to a lamp post. “Trying to get to Auckland Museum?” it said, “You can’t cross here but here are three options.” It then proceeded to explain three different ways to get there. That would never happen in South America and I’d have ended up risking life and limb trying to cross the road.

The fact that everyone speaks English is also great for the gossip in me. So far the best think I’ve overheard was a brilliant break-up line on the bus. Girl: “So you’re saying you don’t love me anymore?” Boy: “No, I’m just saying I don’t love you today, tomorrow I might change my mind”. (He sure knows how to make a girl feel special.)

I’m sure in a few days it will all become the norm to me but at the moment it’s still feels nice to only have to ask a question once, rather than in five different ways to five different people before I can find someone who understands me. And yes, I have to remember that I’m back in a country where paper can go down the toilet and at some point I need to stop confusing all the lovely people here by saying “gracias” and “permisso” to them. But for now I’m just enjoying the novelty.