Aerogers' Guestbook

12th July 2010

Missed Questions
As far as the swing dancing, we took 6 weeks' worth of lessons with our friends here to put together a 3-minute routine. It was so much fun! And as far as standard of living, I would have to say that although the air is cleaner and there are far fewer people, overall we have found the standard of living to be much lower than we're used to or expected. Things such as central air/heating barely even exist here, unless you are very wealthy or have a brand-new home. Electricity bills are double or triple what they are back home, and that's with hardly any appliances to run (very few people have dryers, for example, because of the costs; they hang clothes on a clothesline). Groceries are an absolute fortune - can't leave the supermarket without spending at least $100 - on nothing, really! And overall the food has been one of the biggest disappointments. We've had some good meals here and there, but overall, the good products get shipped overseas, and what's leftover isn't that great. Anything imported costs more than you could ever imagine ($30 for a pack of Budweiser, for example!). So definitely a lot of surprises, but it doesn't at all detract from the beauty of the place and the friendliness of the Kiwis.
12th July 2010

Response to Joe
Hi Joe, I'll try to get through all these questions! We have had MANY a stray farm animal jump in front of our vehicle; nearly hit a cow coming down off the ski fields last week. The big snow we had (pathetic by Canadian standards I'm sure!) actually lasted close to 2 weeks, which I'm told is highly unusual. We've now had very little or no snow since. For sure, there are advantages and disadvantages of life in both places. Life is much more laid-back and low-stress here; they get 6 weeks' paid vacation a year, for crying out loud! But cost of living is atrocious here; the "average" guy back home is going to be much more comfortable than here, I would have to say. Neither Jeremy nor I have ever worked so hard for so little pay. But, we didn't come here to get rich, we came for the experience, and it's certainly that! As far as I know, no winter tires. They grit the roads very well and everyone carries chains, but we have yet to use ours. And as far as the blizzard...hey, it looked like a blizzard to us!! :-)
12th July 2010

Up to the usual standard!!
Amy: Again, what wonderful photos. Where did you learn to dance like that? If I tried that, it would soon look like a scene out of Miami CSI. I don't suppose you've had any problems with stray cows or sheep jumping out in front of you on the ski hill??? :>) I continue to be fascinated by your depictions of life in NZ. Because I have lived astride both the English and the American cultures, it is doubly fascinating to see how things resonate on you. (I've said this before, I think.) Your photos of the snow in Queenstown ... does it melt quickly or stay for days at a time? On the whole, now that you've been around the country and in Queenstown for awhile, how would you describe the general standard of living down there? On the whole, would you say the average (non-university educated) bloke has a better deal at home in Florida or NZ? Would I be correct in my suspicion that if you were completely honest and objective, you'd have to say that both America and NZ have their advantages over the other? In short, a lot depends upon what you're used to? Anyway, been waiting for this report. Do be careful on those boards. I get chill-blaines just looking at 'em. cheers and hugs, Joe
12th July 2010
Why We're Always Late to Work Now

Winter driving.
What about winter tires, Amy? Do you not have them or are they just not available? What is common?
12th July 2010
Blizzard...Outside Our Front Door!!

Where exactly is the blizzard??
24th June 2010

Sweating your socks off
Yes, that is what is happening to us for the last three weeks. Temperatures in the mid 90's with a heat index of well over 100. That is Farenheit for you Kiwis. I wish I was snowboarding!
23rd June 2010

You rock Joe!!
Joe, we have just decided that if we ever make it to your area, we're coming to visit. Thanks so much for all your fun comments and advice!! We are resisting the urge to lick cold metal, I promise. Ha!!!
22nd June 2010

Another winter trick.
Hi Amy and Jeremy: Another handy little trick ... you probably haven't yet had to deal with the phenomenon of snow soaked shoes/boots. Wet shoes left to dry in a warm place overnight can be helped along with newspaper or paper towel stuffed inside them. Helps to absorb moisture faster. (Also ... not a good idea to lick cold metal. You'd be surprised how many people do - once!) Hugs, Joe
21st June 2010

Cute cottage! Stay warm. It was 97 degrees here the other day in the ministry. Yeah, lots of beads of sweat!
21st June 2010

Response to Joe
Hi Joe, yes, you are so right about the English and their lack of properly insulating/warming their homes!! The past few nights have been much better, and we've definitely gotten the whole concept of dressing in layers we're getting there!! Our landlord says frozen pipes have never happened in this house (knock on wood), so hopefully we won't have to worry about that. As far as hot water, we have plenty of it in the bathroom, but for whatever reason, none in the kitchen. Oh well. You can't have everything, can you? :-)
20th June 2010

Fernhill Road - hmmmmmmmm?
sounds like a place right out of Lord of the Rings. It is really a cute place and cooking should be the order of the day after living for four months in a hotel (sigh). Oh well, you can't have everything - but looks as if you two are close to it. Glad you are having such a great time (along with freezing, only occasionaly though) - you'll look back on this as a really wonderful adventure. Miss you two - love, Mom
20th June 2010

CCCCCCooold house!!
Amy (and Jeremy): Well, I sort of laughed. I've railroaded at minus 42 degrees celcius out in the railyard and at minus 35 degrees celcius in snow up to my armpits at a derailment site. So, you ain't seen anything so far. Having said that, it is bloody miserable when it's cold in a home. There is no escaping that fact and it isn't funny to live with. Just be careful your water pipes don't freeze up on you. If that happens, then you WILL find out what what trouble can be!! You might try leaving a candle lit at night, someplace where it is safe and guaranteed not to fall over and set things alight. You'd be surprised how much a slow burning candle can help sometimes. I don't know what it is about the English (be they NZ, OZ or Limey), but the concept of proper insulation and central heating seems to have escaped them. One trick to keeping warm at all times is to learn to dress in layers. A good undershirt, a good shirt and a good sweater are the traditional English answer to cold habitats and because this is an effective way of keeping warm, perhaps that's why they never figured out how to keep places warm. Warm socks don't hurt either. Even here in Vancouver, when the weather is cold, I routinely wear socks to bed. The other trick is to learn the ancient routine of rural Americans and Canadians in winter country ... about 3.30-4 a.m., you get up and stoke the fire. I grew up with a wood burning furnace in our old farm house. Every night when it was cold, dad was out of bed and downstairs around 4 a.m. You'll probably have to learn to do likewise. It's really not good for the house to get minus 10 below inside. I can see that husband of yours is going to have to be trained some more!!! :>) Still ... what an education and adventure you kids are having. Your photos, as usual, are wonderful. Can't wait to see how your winter progresses. So far it's as tame (in terms of weather severity) as it is picturesque. Just be careful with those snow boards. Busted bones are no joke. What a beautiful little home. Can nothing be done about that hot water supply??? cheers and hugs from Vancouver Joe
19th June 2010

nice to read blog/miss them
So I know I am responding quite late to this blog. I had to find one and hopefully you will read it. I have missed your updates, but got one from Chelsea B. So nice to hear you are having such great WEATHER!!! LOL\Jean
1st June 2010

I love you Canadians!
Hi Joe and Matt, glad we could provide you with such a great laugh!! Jeremy is feeling better, Joe, thanks for asking...unfortunately he's not the healthiest guy to begin with so he always looks a little "peaky." Not to worry, though, I'm taking good care of him.
31st May 2010

Amy; I hadn't seen your photos when I sent my last comment. As usual, they are stunning. What continues to amaze me is the similarities there to certain parts of the country up here. By the way, how is your good husband feeling? He still looks a bit peaky if you ask me. cheers, Joe Vancouver, Canada
31st May 2010

Winter driving and the uninitiated!!
Amy: You were right. I was killing myself laughing, on two counts. First of all, was your cluelessness as to what you were getting yourselves into. Second, it was your feeling that only the nubies get caught like that. Don't believe it! We experienced winter drivers can get caught just as fast (sometimes) as you did. We've all been there and done that!! I slid a four wheel drive pickup backwards down a similar sort of place for about 50 yards, one time. Another time it was my wife's car up on a hillside in mud. Tell me, please. Do the Kiwis not have proper winter tread tires?? Loved the ads from the paper. cheers, Joe Vancouver, Canada
31st May 2010

You're right
You were right, I did crack up.... literally, a tear came to my eye... That was a priceless one. Hope you guys are having a blast. Miss you lots.
29th May 2010

that's "xin chao" vietnam
the formal greeting is "xin chao," not "xie chao." "xie" is like something from mandarin chinese. ex. "xiexie" (thank you) i saw a map with a line connecting hanoi to nanning, so maybe you wanted to do a hybrid title? if i could answer my own question by reading the rest of the post, then i guess i'm guilty of laziness.
19th May 2010

Love it!
Love the new hair! Looks great on you Amy.
19th May 2010

Hey, you look great as a brunette! :o) The pictures (inc the mountains, of course lol), are stunning.
19th May 2010

More warbirds.
How amazing to see the Russian equipment ... flying no less. Wish I'd been with you that day!!! Joe
19th May 2010

War birds.
That must have been a great show. It would have been worth the price of the plane ticket to NZ just to see that Spit and Zero get put through their paces. We had a Spit, Hurricane and Lancaster do a flyby together at the Abbotsford Air Show near here a few years ago. The old vets had tears in their eyes. cheers, Joe
19th May 2010

Waitin' fer winter!
The one thing Americans (especially from comfortable backgrounds) who are amazed by the price of consumer goods abroad tend to forget is that in places like NZ (to the best of my knowledge) the social support systems and health care systems give the average citizen a level of support unknown in the United States. I doubt that anybody in New Zealand loses their home to pay for medical treatment. As for the bland food ... oh to be able to go into a restaurant and get food that isn't spiced to the point that it makes your nose bleed!! Up here in Canada, we don't have the same percentage of Hispanics as in the United States, but the huge Asian population here can match the Hispanics for hot spices - bite for bite. They don't have those wonderful dark eyes and tans because of their ethnic backgrounds ... it's because their insides are burned to charcoal from the hot spices they eat virtually from birth. As for your photos - what amazing pictures!!! What a beautiful country!!! We trust that your good husband is feeling MUCH better. He still looks a little peaky in those photos. cheers, Joe
24th April 2010

Milford Sound.
Amy, what amazing photos. First, I'm surprised by how similar the area is to parts of the coastal areas of British Columbia between Washington State and Alaska. However, there is no disputing the beauty of the country you've shown us a glimpse of. Mirror Lake was great. I think some of my favourites were those late afternoon shots of the mountains in line with varying degree of shadow. The sunset shots were awesome too. I've looked at all this from the Google Earth Maps, seeing it all as an aerial map, but your on-the-ground photography is just the strawberries. Puts it all into proper perspective. Wish I was in the car behind, following you kids. cheers, Joe
21st April 2010

Thank you and a quick up -date.
Hi, I am the owner of High Country Horses and thank you for a great story. We think you captured your day well. Just on a up-date "ALMO" the horse who slipped into the creek was retreaved from the creek, and rubbed down until he was dry. After you left for your big adventure ALMO recieved a home brewed warm meal and was wrapped up in blankets. He re-covered well and didn't even have a sniffle :). It is great to read other comments on our new ride as we can taken in all the suggestions to help improve our products. Oh and by the way our lunches are beautiful even the breads and cookies are hand made daily.

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