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Picture 049, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

(by texas mike)

Nothing like an assault to your senses – makes every little thing seem surreal. Not unlike our introduction to China from the comforts of our American home. And now New Zealand, which has been a beautiful contrast from our previous adventures in China. It truly is the other side in many ways. I thought I’d list a few

Some of the obvious:
– Driving: on the other side of the road, which isn’t as difficult as I’d thought with exception to the windshield wiper vs turn signal
– Weather: Winter in China; Summer here – but unseasonally cool from what they say. I’ll take it.
– Hemisphere: First trip south of the equator, and I keep looking for proof in the toilet swirl. No swirly toilets so far, but they beat the hole in the floor (another contrast from China)
– Language: Here eveyone speaks English, another welcome change. I underestimated the degree of difficulty a language barrier adds to the journey.

And some others:
– People: Going from the world’s most populous to perhaps the least (May need to fact check that one, but it’s hard to argue when it’s 20 sheep to every person in New Zealand)
– Cultural History: China’s cultural development and recorded history go back thousands of years. New Zealand wasn’t even populated until about 800 years ago. And the tourist facts remind me quite a bit of historical marks in the US: significant buildings and moments date more ike 200 years ago, with European colonization. Before that, it’s all about the native people, Maori. And not mentioned much.
– Environment: China’s industrialization makes the environment little more than an afterthought – just ask those of the ongoing dam project. Here, they’ve dedicated an independent portion of customs to identify environmental threats on everything, including the soles of your hiking boots.

More to come from the other side. Hope you are well.