Having just moved to Christchurch, New Zealand, I have many things to adapt to. The weather, the people, the road rules, the bland food (which is really not to my liking!) and a whole lot of other stuff I won’t bother to mention. Before I go any further, let me just say that this post will focus on the good and not so good things I’ve discovered about my new home. So please bear with me because this can be messy and disorganized. That’s how I’m feeling right now. Let’s focus on the positive first, shall we? What I like....
- The council in each district practices a very good recycling programme which involves all citizens. Rubbish is collected based on a schedule which varies from one district to another. The first dump truck collects your regular rubbish and that goes to the landfill. The second and following dump trucks collect recyclable stuff like papers, aluminum cans, glasses and plastics. Because of the recycling programme and massive campaign on keeping NZ clean, the city and towns are naturally, very clean. People have the consciousness not to litter and they clean up after eating at fast food outlets. The toilets are sparkling, the parks are clean and restaurants are spotless. Need I say more? It’s a very clean country.
- People are very friendly and courteous. Salesperson will smile and ask you “How was your day” etc (but they don’t expect an elaborate answer). I also notice that they don’t hound you like a watch dog when you shop. Not like those salespersons back at home. Here, they give you the privacy to shop at your own time and pace. So you get a very relaxed and pressure-free shopping experience.
- Cars here are really cheap. The latest BMW, Toyota, VW, Honda, you name it. Used cars here are even cheaper. Price starts from NZ$1000.00 and I’m not talking about those gone down cars that need a lot of fixing. If you don’t believe me, check out this website www.autotrader.co.nz. You’ll be amazed.
- You can get really cheap stuff at garage sales. Garage sales are held during weekends and the stuff sold range from household items, clothes, camping gear, toys, beddings etc. Most of my household items were bought at a garage sale. I managed to get a microwave, a fridge, a dining table set, a TV cabinet, 4-tier drawers and a rattan-laundry basket for only NZ$250.00! Is that a good bargain or what?
Moving on to the negative....
What I don't like.....
- I still don’t understand why they don’t have a fish market here. I’ve asked my neighbour who’s been in this country for more than 30 years and she told me that most of the fishes here are exported and we are left with second grade fish. So, getting wet fish is not easy. There are only two places (to my knowledge, that is) that sell wet fish; a little shop in China Town, Riccarton and another one along Riccarton Road called Fresh Fish. At supermarkets, all you can get is fish fillet. It sucks.
- Most shops and shopping malls close early. Some as early as 6 pm. After 6, only bars and restaurants are open, and most of these are in the Christchurch city. In Kaiapoi, where I live, it gets so quiet after hours and by 8 pm the town is deserted. Restaurants here have really weird business hours. They open from 10am to 2pm then they close for a few hours. They will reopen at 5.00 pm. for 'dinner' and close at 10.00 pm. This means, you can't go and have a late lunch say around 3 or 4 because most of the food eateries are closed. Fast food outlets like McDonalds and KFC open 24 hours though.
- Since it's summer now, it doesn't get dark till' 10 pm. 10 pm feels like 6pm (Malaysian time) and 11 pm feels like 8pm..something like that. This messes up our sleeping pattern coz we end up sleeping around 12 to 2am. You just don’t feel like sleeping coz you can still see the sun light at 9.00pm. So there you have it…the good and the bad…It’s quite a refreshing experience to live here and surprisingly I’ve come to enjoy and embrace the mundane life in Kaiapoi Town. Will write more in my next post. Cheers!