I am about to say something unpleasant.
Outside of a few obvious exceptions, New Zealanders are the rudest, least friendly people we have met on this entire trip. And at this stage in the game, that is kinda saying a lot.
I'll give you a minute to soak in that unfortunate piece of information. Shocking, right?? If you are anything like me, you would have expected to meet a rambunctious and outgoing bunch. Open and welcome and gracious hosts. Anxious to meet new folks and eager to show them a good time. Yes my friends, we have been fed big fat lies about these isolated islanders.
Reece and I assumed at first that the unbecoming behavior was a rarity. That we must have caught someone on a bad day. But over the past couple of weeks and handful of destinations, we've learned this is rule rather than the exception.
I can tell you still don't believe me. Here are a few examples.
- The cleaning lady who screams at me over the shower door cause apparenly I had taken longer than ten minutes. Insults and accusations are flying. She apparently takes water consumption VERY seriously. And customer service very casually.
- The man working at a rock climbing wall who, when asked if he'll operate the ropes for us or if we'll be doing it ourselves, explains with a heavy sigh, "You could never AFFORD for me to do that for YOU." Um. Okay.
- The girl who Reece asks for directions to the car park, who replies with rolled eyes, "Uh, the same way you came in." If I remembered the way I came in, do you think I would be asking you sweetheart?
- The gentleman who stomps down an approximately 60-foot driveway just to ask who the fuck we think we are blocking the fucking exit and demand that we move the fuck out of the fucking way, you fucking asshole. He must have thought we were hard of hearing in addition to being assholes, so he spoke nice and loud for us. I'm sorry, I always thought that getting INTO your car and driving towards the exit was the international symbol for, "Could you excuse me, sir. You are in my way. Thank you."
- Speaking of high volumes, the dozens of people on the road who yell at us in our van as they drive by. We still haven't even figured out what THEY are saying.
- The guy who parks five inches from our van while I am inside it, and when I politely ask if he wouldn't mind moving over a bit so I have room to get out, looks at me like I have five heads then responds, "I've got things to do, I'll do it later" and walks away. Thanks friend. I sure hope I don't accidentally shatter your windshield swinging this door open.
We've been told how much PRIDE Kiwi's have for their country, how excited they are to show it off. We definitely get the sense that they are more territorial than proud. I'm getting a real small town folk who don't take too kindly to city slickers in these parts vibe. And I gotta say, between the attitudes and the sand flies, New Zealand's grade is falling.
We have high hopes that it will be better once we reach the North Island. Wish us luck.