I'll try to post more succinctly than Sally, so suffice it to say we had a long trip, we've finally arrived, and this place is "sweet as."
I remember reading somewhere that Kiwis describe things as cool by saying "sweet as." It's funny because there's nothing after the word "as." So it's not like you say that was "sweet as sugar." No, it's just sweet as. We had been on New Zealand soil for a total of only about 10 minutes when the passport inspector inquired why we had come to New Zealand. After I said that we had been told by many people that it was just the most spectacular place on Earth, and that we had 3 weeks here to figure that out for ourselves, he replied, "Sweet as." I knew we had arrived.
If there were any doubts about our arrival in a foreign land, they were quickly thrown out the window when we stepped into our rental car. Driving on the left side of the road isn't quite as difficult as I thought it would be. As the driver is on the right side of the car, you're already well aware that things are going to be different. It's not so hard when cars are around as you can just follow others. But when you're the only car, and you have to enter a roundabout from the left, and exit left, things get hairy. The good news is that there are as of yet no major incidents to report from the road. The most difficult aspect of Kiwi driving for me seems to be to remember that the turn signal is on the right side of the wheel, while the windshield wipers are on the left. Many an attempted turn has so far resulted in no signal and wipers inexplicably wiping.
Yesterday was beautiful and we got to see the Treaty of Waitangi grounds, where the British and Maori chiefs signed a contract that officially made New Zealand a part of the British Empire in 1840. It was interesting and well worth it. Today is rainy and ugly and it looks like we'll be reading, recovering from jet lag, and watching one of the four television stations. More later