Trip Start Jan 10, 2005
Trip End May 10, 2005

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Flag of New Zealand  ,
Monday, April 11, 2005

Out power drive continues - we made it as far as Westport (population 6,000) tonight - almost as far north as you can drive right along the west coast.

The sandflies here are vicious. Steve and Martin both got attacked when we stopped the car at a beach yesterday; Steve had huge welts all over his legs. Luckily, I was wearing pants and long sleeves. We joked that all the sandflies along that particular beach would be talking about the white, juicy guy that came along that day (i.e., Steve).

And the local fare so far? It's not the meat pies and sausage rolls that is once was, and there's not beet root (beet pickle) and a fried egg on everything. For the most part, it seems healthier and there's much more variety and quite a lot of ethnic food, even in some of the smaller centres. Though I have noticed a lack of spicing . . . . Some restaurants in New Zealand, like Australia, allow you to bring your own booze and they charge a corkage per person which helps the budget when eating out!

There are only six of us at the Westport YHA tonight - us, another Canadian, a guy from the Netherlands and a woman from Germany. You can tell that the tourist season is waning, at least in some parts of the country!

New Zealanders take recycling and conservation seriously. All the hostels attempt to recycle as much as they can, including glass, cardboard, plastic and food waste. All toilets seem to have two flushes: a low flush and a regular flush which makes a lot of sense. You seldom see low flush toilets in Canada. (I still have difficult asking where I can find the "toilet". Somehow "washoom" or "bathroom" just seem to be a more delicate way of talking about such matters; however, if you ask about a "washroom" or a "bathroom" you may be met by a blank stare or asked by some joker, "Why? Do you need to wash/have a bath?"

Keeping my travelogue up to date in New Zealand has been challenging, especially downloading photos, as few of the computer I've encountered outside the larger centres have CD Rom. Kind of like rural Saskatchewan . . . .

PS - Martin turned on the windshield wipers accidentially twice today! That tarnishes his near perfect record and he's now in the running with Steve and I!
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