We packed up… OK, we chucked everything onto the bed in the back of the van… and set off for Wanaka where we’d decided to have lunch. Lou made me drive past Have A Shot (twice) even though I wanted to whack a few golf balls at the TV screen again. Maybe next time.
Lunch was… tomato soup. Again. Twice in half a day! We then bought some bread and fed the ducks on the lakeside. These were very friendly ducks, even moreso than the ones in Rotorua. I think this is the first time I’ve ever had ducks take bread out of my hand. It took a while for them to gather, but as soon as they spotted one of their number getting fed, they flocked in. As did the seagulls. And sparrows. No eagles, though. I did spot two sat by the side of the road, eyeing us up as we drove past later on.
Reading the local paper, I spotted something else I like about Kiwis. They don’t really give two hoots about “language” the same way we do back home. Insisting programs on TV are on after a certain time in the day, just because someone says a word that some old granny has decided is “rude”. We really should wake up and realise that life’s too short to get worked up about pathetic things like that. The quote that got me ticking over about this was an interview with a local guy who runs the snow patrol on one of the peaks. Apparently, when he started the job, he was “a shit skiier”. Even the super soaraway Sun would have popped an asterisk in there.
A second example jumped out as us from the radio when we left Wanaka. It was an advert for a local glaziers. Essentially, it was four people breaking a window and saying “oh, bugger”, followed by an announcer asking if you’d ever had one of those “oh, bugger” moments. This is the kind of thing that would have had Mary Whitehouse in fits, yet the Kiwis regard it as just another funny advert. Mind you, I come from a country that was trying to have the latest Australian tourism advert banned from television only a few weeks ago. The tagline: “So where the bloody hell are you?”
Little things like that sum up the Kiwi lifestyle quite well. Why find things to get worked up about? Who really gets upset at a choice of words that aren’t aimed to insult. This is a country which invented throwing yourself off bridges with elastic tied to your feet – they have better ways to spend their time than complaining about people’s phrasing. Also than teaching them to spell judging by far too many shop signs, but I’ll let that slip.
Oh, another thing I found out was that virtually all Kiwi travel insurance policies include cover for what the UK would class as “dangerous pastimes”. You don’t need to seek extra cover (and fork out more money) for pursuits such as rafting, bungy jumping, snowboarding, mountain biking… the assumption is that Kiwis will go and perform such acts of lunacy anyway so they’re included as part of the policy. I checked several policies before I left the UK and one of them even had a premium for bamboo rafting. I mean, come on. The river doesn’t even move at walking pace and it’s barely deep enough to drown a sparrow in. It would make more sense to charge extra for swimming at the beach.
As the weather was closing in and the sun dropping, we opted to stop partway north. Again, we tried Tekapo but the campervan park was inaccessible without chains. We continued for a while and reached Fairlie where we set up camp for the night. Lou made herself welcome in the kitchen making dinner and it was nice to see a sign inviting us to make full use of the washing up liquid and tea towels. Most parks don’t supply these, believe it or not. Lou, therefore, started spraying washing up liquid around with mad abandon to ensure all our stuff was nice and clean. Then the chap who’s liquid she’d been using by mistake took it off her and moved his box of stuff back into his van.