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22 March 2006

a randomness of new zealand

randomness_nz_27.jpg

_the trip is over_! kai got busted carting around a few _KILOS_ of coke in his backpack! scheisse! i had absolutely no idea. now he's sitting in a jail in queenstown awaiting arraignment. the car has been impounded and i can't get it out because he is listed as the owner. i'm going to wait around queenstown for a few days to see what happens and will report back here. damn him!

and now... a randomness of new zealand...

the defining symbol of new zealand is not the endangered flightless kiwi bird. while i typically hear the maori word 'kiwi' in the local vernacular at least ten times a day (more often to refer to a new zealand native than to the beloved bird), i've seen far more ferns than kiwi throughout the country. ferns grow in almost every forest setting on both islands; in cities the fern and fiddlehead symbols show up everywhere... store signs, sports team logos, park benches, national currency, recreational vehicles... hell, you have international stamps to sell and don't have a picture of a stamp? throw a fiddlehead on the sign.

check out this list of new zealand sports teams: the all blacks (men's rugby), the black ferns (women's rugby), the wheel blacks (wheelchair rugby), the tall blacks (men's basketball), the tall ferns (women's basketball), the black caps (men's cricket), the black sticks (women's hockey), the ice blacks (men's ice hockey), the ice fernz (women's ice hockey), the silver ferns (netball), the all whites (men's soccer), the black socks (men's softball), and my personal favorite... the black cocks (badminton). no kidding.

in my estimation, 90% of all travelers in new zealand are german. if a second language appears on any type of tourist brochure, 99% of the time it will be german.

sandflies. damn, they're like mosquitoes, but worse. tiny (or not so tiny) demons of bloodsucking evil. kai and i have been sleeping in the car lately. in the evening after we've finished eating outside and close the car doors for the last time, we must invariably hunt down any insects which have infiltrated the border (or face intense itching sores for the next two weeks). at first, we were just using the smack and whack method, but kai stumbled onto a far more effective technique. download this 7.8mb avi video to check it out.

[cringe]. the word 'zed'. okay, granted, english originated in england, not america... but the use of the word 'zed' instead of 'zee' for the letter 'z' has really begun to grate on me. my travels through the uk were fairly brief; here in new zealand i've had to endure five weeks of 'zed'. you'd be surprised how often it comes up on the radio... every new zealand world wide web site url ends with .nz. 'blah blah blah dot enn zed. that's blah blah blah dot enn zed.' [scream!]

as of 21 march, it's officially autumn here in the southern hemisphere. the leaves are beginning to change and the temperature has been dropping steadily each day. this has really mixed me up inside; i normally associate the falling leaves and the chill in the air with halloween, still a half year away.

i have a new idol. while driving on the south island, kai and i came across the clifden suspension bridge. there is a sign near the bridge which shows a photo that was taken at the official bridge opening party on 05 april 1899. check out the guy standing in the front on the right... here's a closeup... hell, does it get any more evil than this? the answer is no. it doesn't.

and now... a four point installment of 'who the hell does this?':

01. who the hell does this? separate hot and cold water taps? kai and i have seen this phenomenon _everywhere_ in new zealand. check it, kiwis: by combining hot and cold water into one faucet, one is able to achieve a wide variety of water temperatures. _why do they do this?_ hot water conservation maybe?

02. who the hell does this? one lane bridges? kai and i have seen this phenomenon _everywhere_ in new zealand. seriously, 99% of all bridges in new zealand have only one lane... as you approach them, the words 'one'... 'lane'... 'bridge'... appear in white letters on the road... and then a sign indicates who has the right of way. check it, kiwis: by building a two lane bridge, two cars can pass in opposite directions _at the same time_. [gasp!] true, it costs a bit more to build, but two lane bridges keep traffic moving more swiftly and arguably cut down on accidents. _why do they do this?_ speed control maybe?

03. who the hell does this? ubiquitous roadworks? i'm not even kidding you... you cannot drive for more than twenty minutes _anywhere_ in new zealand without running into some type of roadwork. granted, for the most part the new zealand roads are amazing... for the most part... but kai and i have driven on many unsealed roads (aka stone, dirt, and dust... extra fun because the jebird has some type of external leak which allows the interior of the car to completely fill up with choking dust whenever we drive on them) on both islands. check it, kiwis: before scheduling work to rip up an entire chunk of road in order to fix _one tiny pothole_, schedule work to pave the unsealed roads. _why do they do this?_ leave some roads unsealed for a more natural setting maybe?

04. who the hell does this? vineyards all over the place... a billion flavors of jam and jelly... _but no grape jam or jelly_! what the hell? oh, sure, you'll see black currant jam and jelly, but no freaking grape. come on, kiwis! even the freaking purple skittles are black currant! all of my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the past five weeks have been constructed with _strawberry_ jam or jelly... i want my grape!

and now... the interactive part of the entry:

new zealand is the first country i've traveled in that is in the southern hemisphere. i've always heard that the water in the southern hemisphere spins down the drain in the opposite direction as it spins in the northern hemisphere. is it true? enter a comment below... what do you think? do you think the water's spin is affected by the location on the earth? after you've posted your comment, you'll be provided with a link to an avi video file which shows water flowing down a drain (taken here in my hostel on the south island).

ah, and that scheisse about kai getting busted isn't true. :) there was a traffic accident on the road and we were one of about 30 cars waiting for a crane to right a truck which had been flipped over. the police car was behind us; the officer was up by the accident. as an apology for the heart attack [mom], here's an amusing picture of kai in his big bird jacket.

posted by paul on Wed 22 Mar 2006 at 21:16:12 est (-05:00)

comments

Great photo, great gag!

posted by World Unfurled on Thu 23 Mar 2006 at 08:41:39 est (-05:00)

typically water should flow down a drain clockwise in the southern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the north hemisphere.
this is based on that the closer you are to the equator the faster you are moving in space.

example

you are standing in boston and I'm in winston salem

the circumference of your latitude plane is less than mine so therefore in a 24 hour period I in effect travel farther than you did in the same amount of time, thus i'm moving faster than you.

so

the water on the side of the drain closest to the equator will be moving faster and start the direction flow first.

this effect is subtle however
if the water is already swirling somewhat the other way then this will cancel out any hemispherical control over the direction of drainage.

whether or not this is true on such a small scale is still up for speculation but this is my take on it.

for much larger things like hurricanes and cyclones it is true.

now send me link!

posted by james on Thu 23 Mar 2006 at 10:18:09 est (-05:00)

My husband is a smart man! That is correct! love you big brother!

posted by sister on Thu 23 Mar 2006 at 21:09:06 est (-05:00)

Look up coriolis force. This explains it!

posted by sister on Thu 23 Mar 2006 at 21:23:26 est (-05:00)

Hey! sorry I keep making comments. I didn't notice you already did the research!

posted by sister on Thu 23 Mar 2006 at 21:24:46 est (-05:00)

Dude, this guy James is way too smart. I was going with Yes on the water thing because that's the way it was on the Simpsons. Except in the US Embassy where they invented a device to make it spin the way it does in the Northern Hemisphire.

posted by NEAL DAVID on Fri 24 Mar 2006 at 10:08:55 est (-05:00)

The Straight Dope on coriolis effect on draining water:
http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a1_161

posted by Seth on Mon 27 Mar 2006 at 22:07:36 est (-05:00)

thanks to james, jenn, dave, and seth for their comments regarding the water rotation entry!

posted by paul recon on Thu 30 Mar 2006 at 00:36:11 est (-05:00)

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