On the road in New Zealand
02.04.2013 20 °C
We woke up, after managing to fall asleep over the noise of a caravan park party, showered and got on the road. We had around 8 hours to drive today to get to Wellington.
There's not a great deal to say about the drive itself, it was long and samey, so ill take this chance to tell you a few things about being on the road in New Zealand.
1. The Radio.
The Good. Much like the television programmes, they are allowed to say anything they want on the radio here. I don't even feel comfortable saying what one female presenter said on air, because I am not sure its an appropriate abbreviation for a group of people (this bit, of course, is not the good bit of their freedom of speech!). It's also often really funny though, as again they're allowed their own opinions and will argue amongst themselves and speak over callers. One of our favourites so far has been a radio programme with a psychic and callers - 'Yeah, I'm calling because me and my husband are having problems and I need to know whether its worth fighting for', Psychic replies, 'What I'm getting is, you and your husband are in a struggle, you keep on saying what he's done wrong and he is telling you what you've done wrong, and you need to stop that' - ridiculous!
The Bad. Now maybe we have a rubbish radio in our Spaceship van, but we've spoken to other travellers here and they've found the same. There is NO solid signal almost anywhere! You scan for a station, if you're lucky you'll get it and then when a few minutes later when a good song is on it will start to crackle, or most often you'll get a crackly station right from the beginning. Why pick up a crackly station on auto scan?! Radio crackle is the number one annoying sound for me in the world too, so we've had the iPod on, a lot. I am sick of every song we own.
2. Signs. From the brilliant to the ridiculous.
The road safety signs or advertisements are genius and much more hard hitting than in the UK. No pictures, as its difficult to get them on the drive, but my favourite was this - Drink DrIvE.
Absolutely everything is signposted. So much so I'm surprised the cows in the fields don't have 'Daisy the Cow' name tags. For example, you'll drive down the road and there's a yellow sign saying 'Tui Creek' and you will see nothing but grass. It must be the world's tiniest creek or completely hidden from view, but they'll name it anyway!
The road names are very literal too, such as 'Cemetery Road' - leads to the cemetery -, 'Harbour View Road' - has a lovely view of the harbour -, and 'Big Flat Road', which I can only assume would have been big and flat.
Another thing I don't think we have in the UK are road signs that you read from the bottom up. There are loads painted on the road that say:
We're asking 'What does Bridge Lane One mean?!' But you're meant to read from the bottom, which just isn't natural. Another thing about the One Lane Bridges - the giveaway sign is always on the end that has the worst sight line. Luckily there aren't enough people on the road for it to be a big worry. And finally...why do highways have bridges that only have one lane anyway?!
3. Roadkill. It's everywhere. Birds and all sizes of animals. So sad.
4. Andrew's favourite thing on the road is waving at other Spaceship vans as they pass. He gets upset when they don't wave or put little effort into it, but you should see his little face light up when they give him a hearty, meaningful wave! His favourite to date has been a guy who had his arm out of window and did a 'power to the people' fist pump, which of course he has tried to copy since.
5. Whether it's due to road induced boredom or not, our Sat Nav makes us laugh. She can't pronounced words or abbreviations properly at all. The main roads here are called State Highway and then a number after, e.g. SH 1. This is pronounced 'Sh-one'. This reminded us of Wayne's World and 'Shwing' so whenever we're on SH 1 we say 'Sh-One, Sh-One'! This can be replicated with some other numbers too. She also says 'right' like Dr. Evil from Austin Powers, when he says 'Number 2, you look so handsome...and Frau, you look so...riiiighhhht.' You might have to have been there...I think the driving is affecting us a little.