What’s Behind That Wall? …and other New Zealand-isms

July 18, 2013

Welcome to another installment of New Zealand is not like America (probably because it’s a different country)…

The day we arrived in Christchurch and we were being driven to our temporary accommodations, there was something very different about the neighborhood streets, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. It’s not that we were driving on the wrong side of the road, or that it felt like we were going at warp speed. (If you’ve ever visited a country where you drive on the opposite side of the road, you know what I’m talking about.) Something was different. Where were the lawns and mail boxes and porches and driveways? What was with all the walls?

Take a look:

Nice enough looking house… with the Great Wall of NZ built around it.
What do you all have to hide? Wall after wall after wall…

I was a bit put off at first, driving down the road, feeling officially uninvited from each person’s private life. I kind of like seeing people’s porch swings, roses in bloom, Christmas trees in the window during the holidays.

Then I got to spend some time behind the wall. The wall cuts out a lot of street noise. And it provides a lot of privacy. Suddenly your front yard is also private. Or rather, there is no front yard and back yard. There’s just… space. Every house isn’t situated with a front and back. Many houses have several entrances: through kitchens and lounges and beautiful bedroom doors opening into the yard.

You may remember this is where we stayed when we first arrived. Life behind the wall.

And the yards… stuff grows here. Ferns and fruit and exotic looking trees. It all flourishes. So I’m on the fence (pun!) about how I feel about the walls… what do you think?

Next up, wine. All wine bottles have screw tops. No corks. Rarely even corks from other countries. This is how they do in New Zealand. The argument: there is a much lower failure rate (wine turning bad) in wines with screw tops. I’m a fan, because on more than 1 10 accounts, Scott & I have had to get really creative about getting a cork out of a wine bottle without a cork screw.

And they aren’t just practical about their wine. Toilet flushes and water conservation are taken so seriously that every toilet flushing mechanism looks something like the one below:

Do you need a full flush, or will half-a-one do?

I’ve yet to see a good old fashioned handle, but you know? I think this is definitely a trend that the Kiwi’s have got right. Not every bathroom encounter is deserves the average of 3 gallons of water per flush!

That’s it for now… but here’s a few more photos of my favorite model. She’s so talented and patient…

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