Weeks 13; 14 & 15
It seems that I am becoming a regular KIWI, laid back and taking life as it comes no matter what’s happening all around me. I quite like that feeling as it means that I am not taking life that seriously and just enjoying the moment.
Talking to family and friends on SKYPE keeps me in touch with all that the UK has to offer which actually doesn’t differ too much from what goes on here in New Zealand. As it happens the news here always features the UK as well as NZ so I am pretty much up to speed with UK events. Not sure that I really want to come back as the UK sounds so depressing. Still I have at least another 10 weeks here in New Zealand so I will put that thought to the back of my mind for the time being.
The longer I am in New Zealand the more I have discovered about its culture. New Zealand has a lot to offer the world by its attitude to work in particular. I have personally benefited from the way they treat their employees with caring and consideration. Why do I say this, well as you will know from my previous blogs, I am due to look after the Tauranga office in the North Island up by the Bay of Plenty for my current employers and I leave Christchurch on 1st December. Until now they have had 2 to 3 senior adjusters looking after the office but when I take over I am actually on my own. The office in Tauranga will be closed for Christmas for 2 weeks and I would have been moping around on my own so they have booked me a flight to return to Christchurch for Christmas & the New Year where my colleagues will be and have asked me to look after the Christchurch Office during the Christmas period. I then fly back to Taurange on 3rd January to finish out my stay in New Zealand.
Getting to the underbelly of New Zealand is an interesting experience. The KIWI’s love their drink and the drinking culture is bad if not worse than in the UK. The government has introduced a nil alcohol level for anyone under 21 or younger and the penalties are quite harsh. I haven’t worked out whether that is taking effect. I have harped on about obesity here. It’s quite alarming to see the fat bottomed girls and beer belly men. The news is now full of how the population need to tackle this especially as the kids are as fat as some of the adults.
Christmas is in full swing here. It’s a little difficult to take it so seriously as the evenings do not get dark now until about 8:30pm and as the weeks progress that will become later and later. It’s also nearly summertime and when the sun shines it is hot. Winter seems so far away (sorry UK).
I am still very busy with earthquake claims and I am still seeing new claims from September 2010. I am now the only first response adjuster left here in New Zealand as all my colleagues have returned home. My trips into the Red Zone are less frequent at the moment but I expect these to gather pace as the more dangerous buildings are demolished and it allows us to gain entry into those where access was previously prohibited. That may not affect me as I will not be here in Christchurch for much longer… but who knows.
I have a new circle of friends and we have had several evenings out and about. Nothing extravagant just the odd beer and curry. I have been to Kaikoura to go jet boat riding on the lake and to take in the sights. It was a nice day but nothing special not after the Shotover jet ride.
Last Sunday we decided to go to Hanmer Springs and sample the delights of natural hot springs. The drive to Hanmer is something else. It’s quite obscene that New Zealand has so much spectacular scenery and I am now becoming so blaise about seeing it. They really should export some of this land to say the UK. Hanmer was great fun. I am not used to seeing temperatures at 16 degrees and getting badly sunburnt but that’s what happened last Sunday. I am informed the ozone cover is so thin that the sun really does burn your skin when it shines. I’ve learnt my lesson and once my skin stops peeling I will make sure I cover up with some sunblock. I took advantage of a full body massage after my dips in the various hot spring pools. That was really so relaxing.
The weeks are now flying by and it will soon be Christmas. I will not be sending any cards in the post this year so accept my apologies now. Those of you on my mailing lists will get an electronic version so look out for that.
This Sunday my colleagues and me travelled to Hanmer to do some quad biking. Once I got the hang of the machine it was truly an exhilarating experience. The landscape here lends itself to some terrific quad bike terrain. The tracks are narrow, deeply rutted in places and full of muddy water. Most of us ended up covered in mud and soaking wet. All I can really say is was a good job the sun was shining and it was hot. I sort of expected quad biking to be bad for my back but in reality it didn’t really affect me at all …. At least I don’t seem to have any after effects at the moment. Perhaps tomorrow will deliver a different story………….
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