Journal of Alan Howard
26th June 2000
I'm sitting here looking out on a rain-swept view of the bay in front of the
house. It's so beautiful here, I see it every day under all kinds of
various weather conditions, and I just hope I never take it for granted.
Yesterday, Michelle and I went for a drive westwards along the south coast.
Again, I saw some beautiful sites. At one point, we stopped to look out
into the oceab where there was a large island, shimmering in the distance.
It looked like something you see in adventure movies, where they spot land
from a ship or sailing boat, and as they come closer to it, it shimmers and
has faint cloud cover around it. It's awesome to see something like it in
reality. I wasn't on a ship though, but we stopped at this lookout area by
the side of the road and looked at it, and took some photos. I took some
photos of this glorious coastline that was visible there as well, that we
were driving along. Further on into our drive, we stopped at a town and
walked along the beach, looking out at the same island, which seemed a bit
closer now. Unfortunately the sun was above and on the other side of it, so
everything we could see of it was in shadow. We went a different route
back, passing by what looked like a lake but was apparently a large inlet of
the ocean. Another beautiful photo shoot...
Yesterday was the first time I'd actually taken photos here in Wellington.
Before we went for the drive, I took some photos of the view from our 'front
yard', showing the bay, the cliffs opposite, and the airport. I'll be
posting them for you to see - as soon as I get them developed and scanned.
I hope they turn out ok...
Last Friday was my last day at the cybercafe, but today I'm going to put my
feelers (and CV) out and see what jobs will come to me. Wish me luck...
Now it's time for a rant and rave. The road rules here are just screwed!!
It's more like there AREN'T any!! It's like they create these roads but
then don't know how to create appropriate rules or conditions for them.
Here are a few examples... My first surprise was last week, when I was on
a main road and I wanted to turn right onto a side street. An oncoming car
was also about to turn left into the same street, but he stopped at the
corner and looked at me. I wondered what his problem was, and then Michelle
told me he was giving way to me. I said he's a moron, and she said no,
that's the law. So then, as I took the turn, I was exclaiming about how
stupid that law was. It meant that he had to give way to me, even though he
was oncoming and turning into that street... and I had to give way to
oncoming traffic as well. So according to the law, he had to wait until I
turned, and I had to wait until other oncoming cars passed by, before I
turned as well. How screwed is that...! The next surprise came when I
found out that if I'm coming to a t-junction in front of me, I have right of
way over those on the main throughway. Sheesh. Yesterday I encountered a
crossroad intersection where ever entry into that intersection had a stop
sign. Everyone stops, no-one gives way. So you can have all these cars
stopped, looking at each other. Right of way goes to the one who's
courageous enough to go first, hoping no-one else is courageous at the same
time!! Also yesterday, I encountered a give way sign on a road in front of
a single lane bridge, but you had to give way to an intersection that was 40
yards up the road, on the other side of the bridge!! The problem is that it
was a busy intersection, so you had to watch the road 100 yards further up
for cars which were turning into the road you're on, 'cause by the time you
got onto the bridge, they're trying to come onto it as well. And if some
stupid idiot hasn't indicated, then you're both in trouble!! And that's
another thing... no-one indicates!! Everyone changes lanes and turn
corners without indicating. Those few rare occasions that I've actually
seen someone indicate, I've guessed they must be Australians! Oh, and
there's no speed signs, telling you what the different speeds are supposed
to be on different roads and areas. I did see a sign yesterday that said
"speed camera area", but again, there weren't any signs saying what speed
you should be going at. LOL
Urban services are obviously far behind the times as well. Traffic
lights are here, but today I saw a sticker on a car which said "I survived
blah-blah's first traffic light" ("blah-blah" means "town named after a
Maori word which I can't quite remember right now, nor would I be able to
spell it if I could"). Police cars are few and far between - I've only seen
three, and two of them were mid-80's Ford Falcon station wagons. On
Saturday I saw an ambulance which was a 70's Dodge. I feel like I'm in a
backwards-technology country... but at least it's beautiful!
On Saturday, Michelle and I became officially engaged. At this stage we're
looking at having a double wedding around christmas/new year 2001/02, which
will give us plenty of time to work out details and save up for it. It'll
be a double wedding 'cause it'll be in England and then in Australia...
It's possible that the marriage itself will be done simply (possibly even in
NZ before we leave), and then we'll have the family/friend ceremonies in
England and Australia... As I said, we're yet to work out the details.
My life in New Zealand has been the closest to paradise it could ever be.
Both Michelle and I are extremely happy with each other, and with the plans
we have for the future... everything is just perfect. It's like my life
has been leading up to this, and everything's just come together as it
I just wish they'd get the road rules right....