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I am in New Zealand

I have been trying to publish this post for a long time now. :)

I will complete 8 months outside India on May 7, 2011. Looking back it seems that only a week back I had arrived in Wellington.

Coming to a new country is always a great experience. Many disagree, but I somehow find it that way. It becomes even more special when one comes out of his native country for the first time.

Same happened in my case. I travelled to Wellington on September 6, 2010, and reached here the next day. In transit, I crossed many countries, of course in air :D and set foot in 2 different countries: Singapore and Australia.

Wherever I halted, I tried to find the similarities and dissimilarities with India. Maybe that is basic human nature. But I found that whole experience to be interesting. In the flight itself, I came across 2 different cuisines which made me realise that I am really outside India now.
Iconic New Zealand Ferns.

I am planning to write a detailed post on my flight experiences but I am very lazy to do that. So I think the blog will have to wait for that. Till then I shall continue here.

So when I landed in wellington, my first reaction was “have I landed in wellington or Nahan (my birthplace in Himachal Pradesh)”. The only 2 differences I could find between the two places were that of wooden houses and seaside, both of which are absent in Nahan.

Yogi was there to receive me and was quite excited to see me after a year. We took a taxi and went home and he showed me around after that. Since then I have been roaming here and there in New Zealand. And, I must say I love it.

Here are some things which I noticed after having lived in this country for more than 7 months now.

  • When you come outside India for the first time, your mind is exhausted twice easily as it calculates every price into INR first and then tells you to buy or not.
  • This is a very small country as compared to India and I believe that is the best part.
  • There is more variety of cars here than the variety of people.
  • There is no conductor in the public transport buses.
  • Also, we say ‘thank you driver’ while hopping off the buses.
  • Fishing and Sailing is a major hobby here.
  • Every talk starts with ‘today's a nice day, huh.’ And now I understand why they say so because more than half of the year it is raining or cloudy here.
  • Living in high temperatures is a privilege here; which is something else in India.
  • The banks here charge you to open an account unlike in India.
  • People here are well acquainted with Indian food and like it too.
  • You can have any kind of regular or irregular or half done haircut here and it would still be deemed as fashionable.
  • There is a good chance that you will face fleas and bedbugs even if you haven’t known them the whole of your life.
  • People, who have lived here for more than 5-6 years, do once consider going and settling in Australia.
  • Torn currency notes are accepted here. They are plastic notes so the term plastic money really works.
  • You will find more variety of goods in an Indian grocery store than you have ever seen in any Big Bazaar or our own nearby Kiryana store in India.
  • In Wellington, if the timetable mentions the arrival time of a bus as 4:38 PM, then the bus will arrive at 4:38 PM.
  • In Wellington, you can barely walk if you are caught in winds somewhere; and I literally mean it.
  • The natural weeds in this country are not cacti or thorny, fragrant flowers grow here as weeds.
  • Every road is well marked with exits and lanes and even the GPS navigator fitted in your car knows it.
  • Getting a bike driving license is difficult here as compared to that for a car.
  • There is only a single type of mango available here, which too is imported from Peru (most of the times).
  • If you go outside the city areas, you won’t find any person for miles. And again I literally mean it.
  • The number of lambs and cows is greater than the number of Homo sapiens here.
  • You probably won’t find earthquakes, volcanoes, tornadoes and tsunamis; all in any other country.
  • Every flora and fauna have been tried and tested before introducing to New Zealand. Quite a difficult and impossible task isn’t it. Maybe that’s why we don’t find any snakes and poisonous creatures here.
  • Most of the shops close at 5 PM in the evening and those who remain open advertise it as a USP.
  • I have not seen metallic shutters close the shops anywhere in NZ, maybe apart from the jewellers.
  • The newspapers have their 40% or more content as advertisements. News of any road accident or person getting killed makes a big headline here.
  • No one ever blows a horn on the road. If you hear horns being blown, then you are driving in a wrong way. 
  • I haven't seen a real Kiwi till now, still, I hope to see it soon.
Neither this list ends here nor my stay here. :)

PS: More observations, experiences in New Zealand: An Year Outside India.

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