Thursday, October 25, 2012


Adjusting to New Zealand has been pretty easy. People speak English, are terribly friendly, and the culture is (relatively speaking) almost identical to Canada. They drive on the left, "Anne" sounds like "Ian," and I've now heard someone referring to a "chilly bin" (a cooler), but it's not actually a big change. There are of course small differences here and there that a visitor will delight in noticing.

Where I work there is a giant commercial espresso machine; it has 4 brew heads and 2 steamers. I believe it operates on an auto-volumetric method, so it doesn't take *that* much skill to operate, however I'm finding it easy enough to screw up royally quite often. My tamping skills are slowly getting better. This speaks to the strange dedication New Zealand has to coffee. I'd be curious to know the per-capita coffee consumption, in particular espresso consumption. It's a strange surprise, but my sister gave me fair warning about it. A week in and I'm now most definitely addicted to coffee again.

My barista skills leave something to be desired. No art ..  yet.

The cost of stuff is pretty interesting to someone who is used to buying things from companies with purchasing power (like Mountain Equipment Coop). As my ski bum from the bike shop put it, "to get things to the end of the earth costs a lot." I forgot my climbing shoes, and thank god that was the only thing I really forgot. Stuff is not *that* much more, but I'd say it's up to 150% of the price of an identical item back home for general sporting equipment. I tend to forget that in Canada, for example, tax (13%) is not included in the price, while it is here; it's also $1.00 NZD = ~$0.80 CAD, so I may be overestimating things slightly. However, it goes both ways - kiwi fruit and royal gala apples are reasonably priced. I assume lamb is too. Still, most imported goods are going to cost you, big time.

$12.79 for 250ml of maple syrup. I didn't bother to check if it was actually from Canada.
Living in Christchurch means living with earthquakes, so everything is super low-rise. It reminds me of my grandmother's old neighbourhood in Kitchener. Everything is one or two floors, with the exception of a few buildings downtown (or what's left of it). It's a sad reminder that the Anglicans of 200 years ago didn't have much sense of seismic risk when constructing their colony. It does mean that every little height change can give you a glimpse of the stunning southern alps. This pic doesn't do it justice, but the drive to work is definitely out of the ordinary.

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