Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Labels: New Zealand
Last time I was in London, car hire was somewhat of a chore. Pick up the car from Heathrow. Drop of the car at Heathrow. Even though I didn't want to go to Heathrow. What a jip. Had to avoid parts of the City of London. That side of the road, no congestion tax. This side of the road, pay a tax. Now, before I go on another London rant, in the spirit of presenting a fair and balanced opinion of the capital city of England, I should point out that was just my own personal experience - maybe if I used a different car hire company, things would have been different. As they say, your mileage may vary.
New Zealand. It's not London, England - the city where Lamb Shwarma continues to be referred to as "exotic". Where the lack of sunshine continues to contribute to the 21st century comeback of rickets (I knew I should have hired the car with the sunroof). A city where citizens pay the government a license fee, just to watch free-to-air television. Near the beginning of the last big noplanes journey, I hired a car in London to visit what I would call the best tourist attractions - Paris, including the magnificent Eiffel tower, and the Somme region of France. But this is the 2012 version of noplanes. Knowledgeable and learned with the errors of my travelling ways, this time around I stuck much closer to home - New Zealand.
Car hire wasn't necessary in New Zealand. I had the free use of a motor-home. Dependent on where you are from, you may know this as an "RV". Driving is by far the best way to see New Zealand. Cruising around the South Island for several weeks was what I would without reservation call - a trip of a lifetime. Incredible scenery. And oh, the serenity. New Zealand must be the very opposite, the spectacular antithesis, of London. There was even fresh food.
Where exactly is the natural scenery in London, or in the UK? Where is the nature? The cute little English animals like badgers, foxes, wombles? Where are the rolling hills? "They're in the countryside, guv'na!". Suuuurrrre they are. My confusion has not yet been explained away - why would an Australian hold on to an outdated, mid-20th century sheepish right-of-passage and visit London, where the carrots are limp and the beers are considered "satisfying" when warm (not to mention the whole car hire debacle) when there are so many other destinations closer, cheaper, friendlier, and less English? Why not perhaps visit Hong Kong for a city holiday (no car hire necessary) and New Zealand for a nature holiday? Or visit Malaysia, and get two birds stoned at once?
In any case, I'll let the photos of the South Island of New Zealand do the talking, because this article sure is going nowhere fast. Here's a bunch of photos, that as a series, I call "Not London". In a couple of the New Zealand panoramic photos, you can see the "Blue Flame" - the Breaking-Bad-esque motor home that I drove for more than 3,000 km's around New Zealand during August and September 2012.
Car hire, this time around, wasn't necessary.
And, I'll probably be visiting London again soon.
Please let me in.