Thursday, July 21, 2011

Miscellaneous New Zealand-ana

Well, we got back from our Central-South-Island excursion on Tuesday.  On our way back from the-most-beautiful-part-of-the-most-beautiful-place-on-earth, we stopped and saw a blue penguin colony at Oamaru.  Oamaru is a small city on the coast about three hours south of Christchurch.  If you are in town right at sunset, you can go see a wild colony of blue penguins coming in from ocean hunting to go rest in their nesting grounds.

No photos are allowed.  Which is a shame, because the little 2 lb. penguins are pretty darn adorable and they just chatter away at each other for a long time.

Then, we came home and have been recovering from all the excitement.

So, I thought I'd start a partial list of interesting New Zealand/Christchurch miscellanea that we have been finding interesting.

  • New Zealanders use the word "wee" and it sounds appropriate.  (E.G.  The hostess at a restaurant asked if we wanted dinner or "A wee nibble.")  But, if I try to use this word, it sounds weird.  (E.G.  The bartender thought I was saying something very inappropriate when I asked for a menu because we wanted a wee nibble.)
  • An American trolley would be called a bus or tram.  An American shopping cart is a trolley.
  • An elevator is a lift.
  • The sign for a restroom says, "Toilet".
  • If you go into a "Dairy", you will find much more than milk.  It is a convenience store.
  • You park your car in the car park, not the parking lot.
  • People don't necessary drink tea when they invite you for 'morning tea'.  It's more like the second breakfast that hobbits might eat, or a heavy snack.
  • You wouldn't put gravy on your biscuits here.  They are what we call cookies.
  • Chips are our french fries.  Our chips are called crisps.
  • At the University, they have lecture theatres instead of lecture halls or classrooms.
Finally, at a cocktail reception this week, I learned one more interesting side effect of the earthquake:  

Women have been avoiding their high heeled shoes since February out of fear that they will get trapped somewhere and have to walk for miles.

Apparently, in the February quake, many people had to walk several miles out of the city in order to get to friends homes or their own homes - and many women had to make the decision of whether or not to take their heels off.  The ones who had to wade through liquifaction up to their thighs definitely took off their heels.  Others were knocking on strangers' doors begging for walking shoes in order to finish their journey.

But it is a sign of hope for Christchurch that some women are deciding to bring their heels out again.

1 comment:

  1. Could you explain about liquifaction? It's such an arcane concept to us ordinary folk who have not lived through such an event as happened down there? How can the earth turn to liquid in a flash?