Posted by: scribe9 | May 18, 2010

Return to the Antipodes

We’re back in New Zealand after our little escape into spring. Our trip went smoothly except for two things:

  1. A plane flight cancelled by ash fall. We were able to reach our destination by train. If a New Zealand volcano blew, it might cause more problems, because there are few rail lines as alternatives–this country is too thinly populated to support very many.
  2. Our New Zealand ATM card. When I asked the bank before we left if it would work, I was assured it would. We got overseas and discovered it wouldn’t work in the first half-dozen machines we tried. (Thank goodness we took a card for our American bank account, which never failed.) I called and was told that the bank initially hadn’t set my card to work abroad, but was assured me that thenceforth it would work. It only worked once. I don’t know whether other New Zealand banks bumble as much as ours.

We flew into Rome and out of Munich. Long, long flights—reminding us that New Zealand isn’t close to anything.

Most of the native German speakers we talked with spoke English that was better than ours, and more comprehensible than New Zealand English.

While in Europe I was reminded of how much I miss Northern temperate forests. I have never really cottoned to the scrubbiness of “the bush,” and I know I won’t miss the mangrove swamps. But we were glad to get home and see that two of the little trees in our front yard—a lemon and a satsuma—were laden with ripe fruit. Ah, winter in the subtropics!

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