It’s my 3rd day in New Zealand and I finally found a little bit of time to blog about my impressions about this. First of all, this is what I call a “pulse taking” visit, in which I will try to incorporate as much information as I can about this country, while trying to understand at the emotional level how can I congruently vibrate with such an environment. The complete move, including my family and all the stuff I consider necessary to take with me will take place in 2-3 months. So I don’t have any specific goals for this visit, just trying to enjoy as much as I can.
I had around 22 hours of flight in order to get here from Bucharest, and after adding the checkin times and other amounts of time spent in airports between flights I come up with a total of 37 hours of traveling time. Quite a lot. I had to go to Vienna first from Bucharest, from there a I took a flight to Bangkok, Thailand, and then from Bangkok I took the last flight for Auckland New Zealand. The last 2 flights were around 9 hours each. The second was with Thai Airlines, my first flight with them, and I had to say that I was pleasantly surprised about the quality of services. From the way the plane was prepared and presented, to the steward’s care for the passengers, everything was nice and easy. I even got a bunch of salads for dinner after I told to a steward that I am trying to keep a raw food diet, and I won’t eat the chicken whatsoever. Very nice 🙂 .
There is another point that is worth mentioning about the travel and that is the very strict control about biosecurity. New Zealand is making a public statement about keeping the Earth green, and especially about preserving New Zealand natural habitat, and they are respecting it. You have to declare all the food you have with you, or any other plants in any form, even woodcrafts. You also have to declare even if you had camping in the last 30 days or if you have hiking boots with you. This is making even more difficult to enter the country, once you are in the airport, not to mention the time spent to get there, of course. If you are messing around with those things they can fine you up to 100.000 New Zealand Dollars. Auch!
I got a room in a Bed and Breakfast facility with a very kiwi look and feel, located in one of the oldest suburbs, Howick. The house in which I got this room is basically a 1960 style bungalow made of wood, but within the room I have access to all the modern appliances, from a blender (for the raw food diet, of course) to a dehumidifier, which is one of the most necessary devices here, due to the high percentage of humidity in the air. The space is small and cosy, and the nights are still pretty cold. The bungalow is 5 minutes of walking from one of the beaches in Auckland and in the first 2 mornings I went to the beach and waited for the sunrise.Â
It all happens very fast, the sun rises in less than 5 minutes, but I do like it a lot. The ocean was always so quiet and peaceful, the beach is empty at that time and I can hear all the little noises. After the sun rising I walk on the streets of Howick neighborhoods at a slow pace. People are going to work, some of the are just running with their music devices plugged into their ears, some of them are walking their dogs, some of them are waiting for the bus to go to work. The light is very bright even in the morning and the air is crisp. The neighborhood center is made of small buildings, almost none of them with more than one floor, in which so called “businesses” are hosted: restaurants. lawyers, gift shops, real estate boots, traveling boots, hospitals, pharmacies and so on. All is clean in a natural way, it seems almost impossible to make something permanently dirty here. The wind is present almost all the time and makes for a great air to breathe, always fresh.
Today I decided to skip this morning walk, mainly in order to have this post written and published, which I’m actually doing right now.
The jetlag which I supposedly have to had after 37 hours of flight and 9 hours time zone difference was almost imperceptible, except for the first day. I landed in Auckland at 10:00 AM and around 16:00 I had an immense urge to go to sleep, almost out of my control. That was the moment when I realized I only slept 5 hours in the last 36 hours. After a very good and relaxed sleep I woke up the other day and felt energized and calm. So, no jetlag for me this time.
I started to get a grasp of what is called here the “kiwi lifestyle”: it’s a mix of effectiveness and simplicity. The social relationships are simple and the communication with other people takes place in a very relaxed manner. Maybe the fact that so many cultures are mixing here is creating a more relaxed social environment. In my place of birth, Romania, this is not possible at this time, the social relationships are still complicated and a lot of time is going in managing those relationships, from social status to unconscious media responses. Here is much simpler.
The cost of life seems similar or just a little bit higher of what I have in Romania now, but considering the fact that the overall payment and social care is far more better here, I can say that it’s somehow cheaper. The rents are smaller but the food may cost much than in Romania. But the main cost of living is always in the way of the macro-system performs, and in New Zealand, from what I saw so far, the macro-system is even smoother than in some very advanced European countries, like Switzerland or Germany. Every social aspect of life is taken into account and the system is dealing with it, one way or another. From what I saw so far, almost all the time the system is dealing properly with every issue, otherwise I couldn’t see so much tranquility and genuine relaxation on people faces, on all periods of the day. It’s still early to form a final opinion on that and I might be biased by the fact that I intend to move here, but the overall feeling is even better than I expected.
I was somehow prevented that I will come in one of the most beautiful countries in the world. But I’m still surprised at every step. This is by far the most beautiful place I’ve ever visited so far. The landscape is surprising at the beginning, mixing beaches, mountains, gulfs and forests. But the more you blend in the more you find the landscape familiar and friendly. The urban extension of Auckland was done 99% horizontally. There are no blockhouses, just miles and miles and miles of houses. And the houses are built in a close relationship with the ground, there are heights restrictions and the houses are just following the natural hills and mountains. It’s like a natural evolution of the land.
Well, that’s it so far. I only published one picture here, but you can see more on my first New Zealand trip at my tumblr page, located at edragonu.tumblr.com. I will try to post constantly pictures there and if I will have more to say about this visit, and time will also allow me to do it, I will post a new blog entry this week.