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River View, Clay Cliffs Stop, originally uploaded by espeedy123.

(Texas Mike here)
We’re now in Australia, but before we say goodbye to New Zealand totally, I thought I’d attempt my first “sandwich.” Our friend Brenda from the Routeburn introduced the group to this Scottish (right Brenda?) idea when she presented her assessment of our hiking guides. First you give a slice of bread – a compliment if you will. Then comes the meat – something to work on, idea for improvement. And you finish with another compliment, making the sandwich complete with another slice of bread. Got it? Let’s see if I do it justice.

First slice:
New Zealand, you really have you act together environmentally. It permeates everything you create with an undeniable emphasis on preservation and renewable resources. From the ever-so-common light switch reminders (save energy!) to the customs/entry department searching the soles of our shoes, you really made me think about my impact on the environment… and it’s not hard to appreciate the pristine natural beauty in a country that’s doing it right. I hope you can keep it up as population pressures and business development increase.

Meat:
This is a tough one, as there really wasn’t anything I disliked about my stay. But, the marketer inside me wants you to unleash your creative side a little more. It seemed the same as we traveled your business centers: Deer World, Sheep World, Liquor World, Knit World, etc. the list goes on. Yes, simple names are direct – I know I can expect all things Sheep at Sheep World. But let’s branch out and add some color, break the mold! Maybe a logo here or there. I know this great marketing agency – give me a call.

Top slice:
The food was brilliant, and I believe it’s because of your loyalty to the local product. On any given table spread, you could tell us where everything originated within the region, from produce to meat to wine. (And it doesn’t phase me that you have to import pickles, it’s ok). The freshness and dedication makes a difference in the eating experience – I have several extra pounds to prove so. Sadly, I’m not sure I can do the same thing back home – shoot, our lettuce may be coming all the way from China! Point is, we usually don’t know. But you’ve inspired me to ask and search, New Zealand.

See you soon.

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