Sunday, May 02, 2010

Just can't stop New Zealand

I had a few more thoughts about New Zealand. I figured I'd never get to them. Days go by...endlessly pulling you into the future...(Laurie Anderson). For example, I thought I'd surely have cool things to post from today's Big Sunday Excursion - Buddha's Birthday combined with a new exhibit at the GOMA: New Zealand Noir. But, no sooner had we entered the GOMA and looked upon the giant inflatable rabbit who looks like Thumper, but isn't, really Mr. Disney, then I discovered that my camera battery was dead. (The fish - alive. The battery - dead.) I had NOT listened to the little voice that suggested I bring along my spare battery. Sigh. And, if I have no photographs, I really have nothing much to say.

So, back to New Zealand. The real New Zealand. Time to reflect back on a few things I thought you'd really want to know.

THOUGHT NUMBER ONE: Signs. I never expected to find street signs that I'd never encountered before. Naive, I suppose.

Sign on highway. "Slumps". Obviously something to beware. A slump can get in the way of a really good time.

When something is important, New Zealand marks it with an exclamation point!! Danger! Flooding! or my favorite: Cow!
From New Zealand

The "road construction" sign give me pause. It most closely resembles a man digging a grave. (Not a very good example. I waited til the last minute to decide I needed to bring this home.)
From New Zealand

And, what is this? Kevin and I had only one thought. Breasts on the highway. We just aren't sure why.
From New Zealand

Other signs. The zoo in Wellington was full of these marvelous signs - full of drama and danger. Don't feed the animals or they'll get sick and die. And, they'd show you an animal sick and then DEAD. Or, "If you sit on the fence you WILL fall in." And, then you'll be stamped to death by the blood thirsty zebra!
From New Zealand

From Queenstown.
From New Zealand

If you're going to NZ (or Australia, as I've learned from Mr. Google. Oh, wow!), it is important to find an EXCELOO. We found three - and there are likely more: Franz Josef, Invercargill, and Kaikoura. These are "Self Managing Toilet Modules". Its like walking into a tin (ok, stainless steel) can. Once inside the door automatically locks and the muzak plays. Flushing, paper dispensing, soap dispensing, rinsing is all automated. But, don't get too cozy. After 10 minutes you will be driven from the commode: sirens wail, lights flash and door flies open and, no doubt, the toilet cops appear.
From New Zealand


This is just a helpful hint. In New Zealand you have to match the stamp to the right mail box. There is at least one, and I think two, private mail carriers beyond the federal government. And, the NZPO is not willing to deliver postcards with the wrong kind of stamp. We were just lucky we stopped in the post office for something else or we would have chucked our stack of postcards in the wrong kind of box. (That is probably what happened to the card I sent you. Sorry.)
From New Zealand

FINALLY: Speaking New Zealand.

Kevin and I are not good with accents. We've been living in Australia for four years and NO ONE has EVER mistaken us for locals. Canadians, yes. And, we've NEVER lived there! But, we can speak a few words of Kiwi - and you can, too!

First: One adult female human = woman (woom-uhn)
Two or more adult female persons = woman (woom-uhn)

Can't hear the difference? That's right! Bingo! You're speaking Kiwi.

We learned that from Anna and Andrew before our trip. We were ready.

In Kaikoura we learned another word. We were watching a morning television program featuring a school where the kids had brought in their pets to share. One boy's dog (or cow or pig or sheep - I'm not really sure) was named BEER. And, they went further to clarify - that's BEER like the animal in the woods not the drink.

Tada! Like us, you're almost fluent!

1 comment:

C Maryon said...

Oh such memories you have brought back.

The double-eggs-on-toast sign is supposed to signify a bumpy road. De Saussure would have loved it. We have it in the UK too - older signs look more like a bumpy road but the newer, more stylised ones are like yours, and totally like a bra cross-section

As for the Near-Square dichotomy, much has been written (seriously) about this - NZers will say they don't have accents, but they do, and one of the markers is whether that vowel sound rhymes with Near or Square. I have been known to pronounce "hair" like "here", particularly if I'm having a Bad Here Day.

And loopaper in toilets? have you never been to Greece? I believe they expect you to put it in the little box on the floor...