Motorcycling in New Zealand!

Four hours behind... plus a day!

Still a little strange that I'm starting my weekend here while you are still stuck in so, like, yesterday.

New Zealand seems like a great vacation spot for us US'ers... Minimal jet-lag if you can manage to get a nights sleep on the plane, they speak the same language, even use dollars! Plus with us pissing off the rest of the world so quickly and profoundly, there are fewer places where it's "o.k." to be from the US. The friendly Kiwi's just make fun of George Bush and invite you over for dinner! Perhaps a little less of a real adventure than traveling someplace where you really have to learn a new culture. Not all is rosey for travelers in kiwiland, though. Kiwi's pay a *lot* for everyday kind of stuff. Even though $1US equals about $1.3NZ, things seem to cost at least twice as much. Cars and motorcycles are really expensive, gas of course is pricey, but the real surprise is the cost of food, and the cost of a B&B if you want to go upscale from the comparatively inexpensive "backpackers" which is roughly equivalent to a hostel. Fortunately backpackers seem to be all over, so if you only want to spend $25NZ a night, and don't mind sharing a room, no problem.

Kiwi's are really friendly, giving people. Come on over, I'll lend you a great motorcycle for a month! Let's go over to my friends place for a great barbecue! How bout I show you all the great places to ride

Lots and lots of coastline and plenty of mountains with minimal development makes for fantastic scenery as well. I've only seen a small part of NZ so far, but plenty of amazing views and vistas.

And did I mention twisty roads? And great dual-sport roads? Plenty. Though be careful of the oncoming traffic, or you will earn a new nickname. The Transalp that Murray has lent me is doing great. At first, it felt a little underpowered and squirrelly int he corners, but I've settled into a rhythm with it and am starting to appreciate it's smoothness as well as my ability to flat-foot it in the dirt. I'm so used to riding a tall bike it's a revelation to actually be able to get both feet on the ground!

But another downside I've been warned about, rain! Poured all afternoon today, so I ducked in doors and started reading my book, and had some down time to write my first blog post!

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