Yes, that’s right. Here are some things that bother me here in New Zealand and here’s what they need to do about it.
The appliances at least in the house we’re renting are small, cheaply built, rinky-dink. New Zealand needs to get some real appliances—big, heavy-duty stuff, with formidable knobs and controls. Stuff where you can do a big load of laundry, dryers with some major drying power, stuff you can’t break if you pull too hard or overload it.
Plumbing—same thing. Get the big boy stuff—big toilets, showers, sinks and faucets. And when I cook dinner, I don’t want to feel like I’m playing in some toy kitchen.
Lights. Everywhere I go, I feel like I’m reading by candlelight. Let’s light this country up! It’s not North Korea you know. Let loose the lumens.
Heating. They need some big gas-burning furnaces to heat these houses. It gets cold here! Damn cold. Central heating—it’s been invented, you know. None of this little itsy-bitsy space heater crap.
Going back to bathrooms. Put restrooms in stores. You can have a huge grocery store and no restroom or you have to get “the key”—you know, the key daggling from the enormous block of wood. Restrooms in stores. And how about water fountains—I get thirsty. I’ve seen two water fountains so far.
The roads—put in some major Interstate-type highways crisscrossing this country, north to south, east to west, down and around all the coasts, 4 lane roads with medians, highways that go straight and don’t turn and dip for every hobbit hill and dale, level the hills and straighten out all the turns, you can leave all the twisting and turning for the country roads, but I want some Interstate highways that go straight. Put in exits every once in awhile and don’t give access to every little road, so you can get up to speed and go, so you can get somewhere fast. Auckland is 197 km (118 miles) from here. I want to get there in an hour and half max, not the 2 hrs 45 minutes or more it now takes. A ride in the country isn’t what I want every time I go somewhere. And no roundabouts on the Interstates—do you hear me—no roundabouts on Interstates. Exits. No roundabouts.
TV—more good channels, less British soap operas, more movies, and I want to be able to turn on the TV at any time day and night and find Gladiator or Forrest Gump.
The library—cut out that crap with charging people to check out books. It’s a library. If people are reading, you should encourage them, figure out a way to pay for it so people get books for free.
Stores. Keep them open later. In the winter, it gets dark at 5—we need places to go.
Internet—more free WIFI all over. Telecom companies—don’t be so tight-fisted with your megabytes. Give it up a little. And at the same time, let everyone call anyone anywhere in the country for free on their cellphones. And landlines—don’t let me start—they charge you to call a cellphone from your landline each and every time at so much a minute. What! That’s got to go and now! I thought that was the purpose of a landline so that you wouldn’t have to use your cellphone, am I missing something here?
Food. Okay, now I’m on a roll but you wanted to know.
Some guy asked me what food prices are like in the United States.
“Half-price,” I answered.
Cut all prices in half, that’s right, cut ‘em in half. Food is way too expensive. $3.00 for a can of soup, well, that’s now $1.50. And $8 for a little block of tasteless cheese. That’s now $4. No, still too much—$3.
Same thing for eating out. Some little snack type lunch in a street side diner is $20. Wait a minute here—what are you talking about—if I pay that much for a meal, it better be gourmet dining or maybe an all-I-can-eat buffet. And paying $15 at the same diner for eggs and toast breakfast (bacon is extra)—I can’t think of any breakfast that was ever worth that much. After all the old Deuces Wild (two eggs, two bacon and two toast) at Denny’s was only $4.99.
Oh, and lamb and wool should be dirt cheap here. They should be giving it away. It’s covering every hill here but if you go to buy a lamb chop or a sweater made of the stuff it costs you a year’s wages.
And don’t get me started on hardware stores or their equivalent of Home Depot. A small box of half a dozen screws—$6.99. What the…! White ceiling paint, $103 for 2 ½ gallons and they even put it out front and advertise it as a great deal. I even saw a $70 hammer. I bet when the Europeans first landed here, they didn’t even charge the Maori that much to buy a lousy hammer.
Gas prices. Eight dollars something a gallon. What can I say—start fracking now.
Roundabouts, they’re okay, but sometimes a bit too many in the cities. Mix it up a bit. A few traffic lights so you can catch your breath, take a bite of an apple or fiddle with the radio, we all need a break once in a while. Once I get into my car and fasten my seatbelt, it feels like I’m at the start of a Formula One race. There’s no stopping until I get to where I’m going, and the endless roundabouts feel like I’m driving the chicanes at the Grand Prix de Monaco. Yes, I can go through the entire town without stopping but sometimes I want to watch that guy on the corner at the light and wonder what he’s up to.
Some of this writing everything in English and in Maori. I know Maori is one of the official languages of New Zealand (along with English and sign language) and I respect that but sometimes it gets a bit out of control. I was in the food store and each department was written in both languages. Beer and Wine and then the Maori equivalent. Canned Fruits and Vegetables and then the Maori equivalent. Hey, wait a minute, did the original Maori even have canned fruits and vegetables? I say keep it for the place names and some other things but for some other things it becomes a bit much. If the Maori didn’t have the item when the Europeans arrived, then that item shouldn’t have to be translated into Maori.
Just a few suggestions.