Culture shock…of New Zealand

2 Dec

I’m writing this from the Bank of New Zealand where they have free wifi..The hostel in Auckland, New Zealand has wifi but charge you $1.50 for 15 minutes…they also charge you $20 for the privilege of having a plastic key ring with a key for the room, $24 for the room, $4 for washing laundry, $4 for drying it…that, of course, does not include washing powder..what do you think this is, man, a free country….

So far I am experiencing serious culture shock here.

The people here speak my mother tongue but this is not an advantage ?ve decided. I can no longer prented to not understand or just put on a puzzled expression to get me out of conversations.

I arrived at the airport and had to declare my charango (she’s wood) and a chocolate bar as well as my hiking boots, sleeping bag and pretty much the whole contents of my rucksack.

I had to open up my charango twice to show her around the airport (no one of course understood what a charango is).

Then I was asked lots of questions and had some observations on my trip made “you’ve been to a lot of drugs countries”.  My answer “it’s difficult to avoid that in South America”.

I was asked about the type of grips on my hiking shoes (“big ones” I replied) and then to demonstate them…eeks…only my left leg lifts above knee level. The right one doesn’t. I’m not sure why. It just won’t move.

I had to declare a chocolate bar I’d bought in Santiago but not eaten during the flight (I was too busy sleeping).

The chocolate was fine though. I got to keep it.

I then went to this desk which I was helpfully advised could help me with booking my accommodation. How nice. They don’t have that in South America I thought.  The guy at the desk looked at if he hated me from the moment I approached wearing my Colombian style cowboy hat.  I can’t help it if it won’t fit into my rucksack and I have to wear it at all times now.  I showed him the hostel I wanted.  So he then phoned a completely different one which has 500 beds and which my books says “is not the place to stay if you want to sleep”.  He then got all miffed at me when I said I didn’t want him to reserve a place.  He then argued with me that I had to arrive at the hostel at check in time, ie, 12 or 2 in the afternoon…at least in South America I could pretend to just not understand all this and walk off.  I humoured him for a bit then just walked off.

Then got on the airport bus and decided to just head to the hostel I fancied from the book having failed to make a reservation owing to the unhelpfulness of the guy at the “helpful desk”.  Had a long and detailed conversation with the guy on the bus about where I wanted to go.  He told me it was the last stop so easy.  But the bloody bus did not stop.  It did a loop which continued to pick people up..all the way’ve guessed it back to the airport having failed to advise of any stops on the way even though he had a nice loudspeaker which he used to announce at one point that he had found the $1 which a guy on the bus dropped when being given his change.

I have to stop starting all my sentences with “in South America” as I know this will make me little friends here…but you know in South America they actually do your laundry for you for about $2, and in South America you can get a coffee for about 20 cents, and in South America people on the bus sit next to you and help you with your stop and if they get off before you they delegate that task to a fellow passenger…as I said must stop starting my sentences with “in South America” but maybe I’ll stop that tomorrow once I’ve got used to not being in South America any more….


5 Responses to “Culture shock…of New Zealand”

  1. Marcel December 3, 2010 at 9:31 am #

    Now, I’m not biased in anyway but I’d like to add, ‘bloody Kiwis!’

    • angiemain December 4, 2010 at 12:31 am #

      hey hey hey….yes culture stock part 2 has made me even more depressed. how are you?

  2. Gus and Eileen Paterson December 6, 2010 at 12:06 pm #

    Sorry about the culture shock Angie, you would have the same treatment in London – the other parts of New Zealand are really good, we hope you can get a tie up with Christine and go and stay with her for a while, I have emailed her to say you are in Auchland and given your mum Christines address, hopefully that will be sorted asap. Christines friend is very ill and she has been sent for by the hospital, but hope you can get this sorted to go there.
    We have been to NZ 3 times and really enjoyed it, we did have a good exchange rate 3 dollars to the pound, and found food etc really well priced – just realising it is nyear nine years since our last visit so perhaps I should shut up about the cost of living., but don’t like the treatment you are getting, the airport was very strict and am surprised you got the choc bar to keep also security is strict and yes speaking the mother tongue seems to hinder you, speak Chinese/Japanese or Vietnamese and you will get better treatment. – the eye surgery is painful though!! I am trying to get in touch with Christine to get you.
    We have another 8″ snow this morning so far and it is still snowing – terrible.
    You take care Angie, we hope you will meet up with Christine and get some better treatment
    Lots of love from Eileen and Gus xx

  3. Shelley Speer December 7, 2010 at 4:25 am #

    Hey Angie! Maybe you can start feeling better about some of this stuff by starting with “in China”. I’ve read all three of your culture shock blogs, and I worry you have left your heart in South America! Not that it was a bad thing to fall so in love with an amazing place, but I hope you can see the beauty in your new travels, just like I know you did in China – despite its many hardsleepers… I mean hardships! 😉

    Two quotes spring to mind by Samuuel Johnson.

    All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.

    The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are.

    Travel safe, and be good! If you feel the need for some Canadian hospitality you have a room in our house waiting for you!



    • angiemain December 28, 2010 at 7:21 pm #

      Hey Shell! How was Christmas for you guys? What did u do? what are u up to for the New Year? Do u have tons of snow? It was weird being in a hot christmas place!!! bbq at the hostel followed by a walk in blinding sunlight. so different from normal for me! I really love these quotes. They make me think. I did fall in love with SA. In every way..from the language, to the dance, to the fact that everything is so different! It is weird but in some ways NZ is the most difficult place I’ve travelled to and is that because it’s so like home and i feel it’s not travel anymore? Been taking a little time to relax this week just to sort out my travel photos and think about my journey. It’s actually bn really nice! missing u both and hi to tom. how is the new house? lots of love angex

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