Well yesterday ended up being really fun, and slightly educational. We watched a good part of the Olympics live (a benefit to being only 3 time zones away from China) and got to see Michael Phelps grab the gold in the 200 free. We also watched Moss Burmester, the Kiwi, make the finals in the 200 fly. He's seeded 7th, and on New Zealand's Breakfast this morning, they actually said, "Does he even have a chance at a medal?" It was kind of sad!!
We ended up back in Russell and went to The Pub Around the Corner... it was completely dead, so we ended up just talking to the bartender, a Maori lady. She gave us some good insight into the education system, the drinking age, etc... which we had been wondering about. You can go to public or private school, and if you want to go to a public school in a neighboring district, all you have to do is pay for your transportation to get there. They call high school, college. The drinking age is 18, which she thinks is too low. She gets a bunch of 18 year olds in who buy beer to go and then take it to all the younger high school kids.
Lee noticed a sign on the wall advertising Jim Beam RTDs, (ready-to-drink) which are pre-mixed drinks... so you can buy Beam and Coke in a bottle, or gin and tonic, already made. She couldn't believe we didn't have those in the US. We hung around and sure enough, around 5:15 all the locals rolled in to play "Joker Poker" and have a beer. You buy a drink and get a ticket. At 7:00 the bartender draws, and if she draws your number, you get to flip a card over on this bulletin board. If you flip the joker, then you win NZ$2000. We couldn't stick around to watch because the last ferry back to Paihia left at 7:00, so we gave our tickets to our new buddy, Charlie. Our tickets GREATLY increased his chances of winning... (and we are paying for it a little bit this morning!)
Another interesting observation... people ask us if we're Canadian, not American. Not a single person yet, who has tried to guess our nationality, has guessed American first. Everybody says, "So you're Canadian, right?" I wonder why that is.
Today is our last day in Paihia and then we're heading to Auckland tomorrow morning. We'll write more then!