There used to be a comedy series in the UK with the same name as the title of this post. I can’t remember ever really watching it. I wanted to tell you about the experience of using the bus in NZ versus the UK…
Stopping the Bus
In both countries, hold out your thumb in something of a hitching gesture to get the bus to stop (unless of course it is jam-packed in which case it will barrel on past)…but there is usually room for one more! I have seen the driver wait for passengers on numerous occasions too.
When you climb on board a bus in the UK, you generally find a miserable rotund man sat in a cubicle which looks like a prison (to protect him or you?). He communicates in grunts and sees everything as an inconvenience. When you climb on board a bus in NZ, the driver greets you, there is no cubicle but an open seat and he will even give you change. Amazing. Once aboard…you will even hear music sometimes…that you either love or hate I would say…hate being reserved for anyone who would play anything by the talentless wonder that is Rihanna.
In both countries, bus drivers drive like they own the roads (I have said in the past that UK bus drivers are the rudest of motorists). It is almost like they are desperate to get out of there. The addition of dedicated high speed bus lanes in NZ really does make you worry for your safety at times…but so far so good…we all like to get where we are going as fast as we can…well…we do in the UK…
Passengers seem to stand up for older people and ladies in NZ. I assume this still happens in the UK. I do think that these sorts of manners may be diluted by immigration…while I would not see anyone suffer, I have noticed that those who are first to offer their seat seem to be native European-descent Kiwis.
Press the button to stop the bus and thank the driver as you get off. I have always done this when on a bus and it seems quite common here. The drivers generally say thank you back cheerfully too. Not everyone is smiling all the time though…that would be weird and just a touch unnerving!
At the end of the day, you could ask whether any of these things really matter if you get from A to B safely…I would say though that it all feels that bit better over here because people are that bit more civil…and perhaps a little less uptight.
I have seen something quite amazing…
There I was watching “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” on TV one evening when, in the many advert breaks they like to put on NZ TV, an advert came on campaigning for the legalisation of cannabis. Incredibly there was even a party standing in the elections in 2014 simply on this issue…guess that was manned by students then!
Perhaps someone out there assumes that anyone watching such a film smokes dope for a living and would support it…perhaps that is as crazed as the advert itself!
South of Hamilton, on the way to Taupo from Auckland, lies the small town of Tirau. I don’t believe it is noted for anything spectacular other than perhaps reinventing itself from a farming community to a centre of arts and crafts.
We stopped there for some food mainly so we could get a closer look at some of the corrugated artwork that adorns the buildings here…so I guess the fact that we stopped shows that it worked!
Who would have expected to see Corrugated Jesus (Shepherd), Corrugated Sheep, Corrugated Dog…and more!!! Check it out…
When a lot of people think of New Zealand, they may think of the Kiwi, they may think of the All Blacks or they may think of New Zealand lamb!
New Zealand used to be, in essence, an extended farm for the UK. There was far more produce here than the small population could consume and as such you may as well export it. They invented refrigeration of meat here (in 1882 near Dunedin) which enabled ships to take lamb to the UK.
New Zealand continues to be an agriculture powerhouse to this day. You can grow almost anything here. One of the few fruits I haven’t seen growing would be bananas. Different parts of the country have different climates which facilitate different crops. Only the feijoa (an acquired taste anyway…slightly medicinal) apparently doesn’t lend itself to export too well. It always use to strike me as bizarre how you could get NZ apples in UK supermarkets, but not UK apples (go figure!).
Agriculture forms the backbone of the economy and of many people’s lives. Sheep farming has given way to more profitable beef in many areas but there is still plenty of lamb to go around.
While in Hastings, just south of Napier, we went to NZ’s oldest farmers market. Uncommon in the UK, these sorts of markets are a national institution and even Auckland has them. A great place to get fresh or manufactured product straight from source. Delicious!
Please check out the drummer in the band…beret and shades…possibly a contender for coolest drummer on earth…