Now that I’m officially Down Under, I thought I’d write down some of the things that I noticed. My observations are based upon a week of being at Hamilton and doing looking-after-the-big-girl stuff so is isn’t a rounded view, really.

Anyway, the upside down thing is not noticable – not that I thought it would be – but a lot of things are subtly or not-so-subtly different.

– driving on the other side of the road; lots of roundabouts; turning lanes are tiny and come upon you very suddenly;
– an older brother/younger brother thing with australia; kiwi’s make aussy jokes;
– a kiwi is a bird or an australian person, the fruit is a kiwi fruit and an orchard of them is a kiwi fruit orchard;
–  houses one storey high, wooden structures, tin roofs;
– everyone has a yard;
– farmer country – statue of a farmer, his wife, his child, horse, sheep and sheepdog in Hamilton town square:
– the art I saw deals with the Maori vs Pakeha thing – it must be fresh in everyones mind;
– very little cycling or walking; there are cycling paths but I haven’t seen anyone on it: the family I’m staying with have bikes and the funny little helmets that are required by law;
– leaving a kid under 12 unattended is a punishable offense; so is smacking them;
– native trees don’t lose their leaves at all;
– no bread for breakfast;
– tree ferns everywhere!
– mountains, hills – almost never flat;
– no central heating;
– Maori and Pakeha squabble about land and water rights;
– no highways, apart from the stretch part of the way between Auckland and Hamilton;
– earthquakes;
– watjes winters;
– Hamilton has no skyline;
– they que;
– ‘no worries’ attitude, ‘sweet as’ laidback-ness;
– ducks and pigeons merging with  pukeko birds; Note: do a duck circle!
– asian-looking people are maybe maori maybe recent imports;
– they have weird words – like anatidayphobia;
– big trees – really really huge trunks;
– plants that I grow in containers and wrestle through the winter running riot here;
– a nation of ball-handling people – netball, rugby;
– school uniforms;
– awareness of being an island in a big, big sea,  no other countries to drive to;

Lots of ducks watching us at Hamilton Lake