The Airport & The Hospital ... In One Day!

Well, after working our first week at the Wellington Airport, we've learned a few things:

  1. Waking up at 2:30am for a 4am shift is stupid, and still definitely nightime. It's not "morning," no matter what your schedule says.
  2. There's a shortcut to work.
  3. Don't let Baby G near the coffee grinder, because bad things will happen...

Last night, just before 7pm, Baby G had a "queue" of customers, and no freshly ground coffee with which to work, in order to be the barista she pretends to be. Dizzle was off, trying to find something or other (ideally one of the managers, who have a nasty tendancy to disappear) when Baby G attempted to "fix" the coffee grinder, showing that "go-get-em" attitude she's oh-so-known for. Not being able to "suss" out the grinder situation, and the queue growing longer and longer, she tipped the machine back and forth, hoping this would dislodge whatever was hindering her grinding process. -That's when it slipped, and her right index finger, instead of the coffee, got ground up. -Nice one, G.

Naturally, this resulted in an inevitable fucking off of the customers, and immediate tears on Baby G's part. -Yeah, crying at work. Again, nice.

Not surprisingly, after looking for, calling for, and waiting for an elusive manager, Baby G unleashed a torrent of expletives, and went in search of some first aid, a ride to the ER, and someone on whom to release said torrent.

Manager Moni was found, who offered BG a plaster, or "Bandaid", upon whom previously mentioned torrent was released, and he subsequently offered she & Diz a ride to the ER. (F that guy.)

That done, onto Wellington Hospital!

Once at the ER (and let it be known that Mgr. Moni is a fast yet recklass driver resulting in a further frightening experience) we began to wait to see a doctor...And waited...And waited...filled out some paperwork...And waited...asked how much longer it'd be...And waited...And waited...another torrent of expletives...And waited...no whammies, no whammies, no whammies, no whammies, and STOP!! BINGO!!

Okay, so were in, we're pumped, we're ready to get BG stiched up, and sent on our way... But that's too easy...No, here, we waited some more...And more...And more...And more...(it's somewhat reassuring, no? - That hospital beauracracy is the same no matter where in the world you are. I bet Carmen Sandiego wasn't able to count on that) ...And more...

Doctor Nina (no lie) comes in and after examining Baby G, informs us that no stitches can be done, as there aren't any 2 parts of skin to stitch together anymore. ...Nice...

A bandage, some antispetic, a Tetnus shot, and some divine karma, is all we are counting on, other than another trip to a different Doctor tomorrow. But for the time being, with the equivalent of Workman's Comp (ACC) paying for Baby G to take a few days off...

An open wound it must remain!

For Jake & Jenn, Baby G hollers, "For Rohan! ...I will scar myself with the machine of the evil Emporio Coffee Orc!"

Oh, and today, after going into work and filling out all the red tape paperwork for this accident, we learned that there is a 24 hour emergency medical support unit ON SITE AT THE AIRPORT -- just in case this sorta thing happens.




Ladies and Gents~

Things are quiet here as New Zealand prepares for winter. We are both safe and sound, working at the airport and trying to make a little nest egg for our return to the U.S. of A. We have been doing quite a bit of soul-searching and communicating with one another regarding our post-NZ futures, and are trying to put ourselves (and each other) in a headspace that will be able to help us with whatever ends up being the "next phase".

Some of this will be of interest to many of you, and we're looking forward to exchanging ideas, inspirations and outlines for your advice/opinion. We've discussed future study and schooling in many areas, as well as both new locations and vocations. Buckle up, Kids, things are happening now.

In the meantime, it occurs to us that it's been awhile since you've had the opportunity to look at some pictures. Rather than wait until we see you (when we'll undoubtedly be showing you many of the same shots!), here are a few to whet the ol' appetite. Enjoy!

After this, Baby G couldn't sit down for like, a week.

Seen at a flea market, March 2007

On the side of a store called "Paris Texas".

Seriously. Don't.

So close, and yet so far...

From the protest we attended. This is in chalk on the wall of a bank in downtown Wellington.
The circus came to town, and practiced on the wharf!

The sport, not the bug.
In the words of fictional President Jed Bartlet, "I'm an educated man, Charlie, but every time someone tries to explain the rules of cricket to me, I want to hit myself in the head with a teapot."

This needs a little explanation but NOT it's own post. Here in New Zealand, if you go someplace and order a "hot dog", more often than not, you'll get a sausage on a stick that has been deep fried in batter and served with tomato (that's "toe-MAH-toe") sauce, which is different than ketchup in that it's not as sweet. It IS possible to get an American hot dog here, but to do so, the menu must read "American hot dog" or something along those lines. How does it taste, you ask? ...

...a lot like a corn dog.
This was taken at the Basin Reserve, named after famous Kiwi WWI soldier Reginald Basin Reserve, who singlehandedly killed some Germans.
All joking aside, it's a really peaceful cricket yard in the center of town and this monument is perched on a hill on one side. On a sunny day, it's a nice quiet respite from an otherwise busy central business district.
Dizzle talking to someone about how many skateboards it took to make this bench.
Please note the sign on the bottom-left, Dorks.
The size of those leaves is outrageous! Truly, truly, truly outrageous!
With love, from us. We miss you all. Peace.


We have good news, and strange news:

Hey Everybody! As the title suggests, we have two types of news for you:

Good news: We got our plane tickets back to the States. We fly into Philly May 10th. We both have solid work leading up to the 30th of April, when we'll take the ferry to the South Island and explore Southward until we fly out of Christchurch. So, there you have it. Dizzle has been temping at a flea market for the last three days bussing tables in their food court, and both BG&D will be working at the Wellington Airport until the end of April. Some of the shifts there START at 4:00am! Ah, time. Which brings us to

Strange news: Not long ago, you all in the States recognized Daylight Savings Time, in which you all "Sprang Forward". So the time difference between us and you went from 6 hours to 7. Well, here in NZ, we just recognized it as well, and because it's autumn, we "Fell Back" an hour. Now the time difference is 8 hours - something we never saw coming in all the planning and travel books. Leigh says this time zone in NZ is the best because it's exactly 12 hours from Greenwich Mean Time, so the math is easier. We can't comprehend why one would need to know what time it is in Greenwich, England all the time, but we're fans of anything that makes the math easier for people, so rock on.

That's what we have for you so far. Updates this month regarding airport work, sleepiness, and more travel plans. Stay tuned. :)


Getting there

Hey all. Just another quickie. We're okay and applying for jobs currently. Dizzle has full-time work at a restaurant at the airport, and Baby G will either get a job at a clothing store and stay at the airport PARTtime, or increase her hours there.

We're thinking a return to the States is imminent Mid-May-ish. You want more specific? So do we. :)

We'll keep you posted. Hope all is well.



In two days, we'll know when we're coming home.

Quick update:
It looks good on the employment front. We ave a trial run working TOGETHER behind the bar at the Wellington Airport, and we have an additional interview for a temp agency that specializes in short-term temp work for travellers on Tuesday afternoon.

By Wednesday (that's "Tuesday" to you all in the States), we should have a good idea of when we're coming home and what the rest of 2007 looks like for us.

The good news is, you still have us for a little while, and we're going to do our best to post random little things while we're working for the next six weeks or so, and then TRY to post as much of the South Island as we can. The problem is, we may not be going back to Wellington after the South Island - we might just be flying out of Christchurch. So, if that ends up being the case, we'll let you know.

In the meantime, you relax and have fun. We both miss you all and we're really looking forward to touching base with you soon.

With Love,


Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Hi, Everybody, it's Dizzle here. I am dropping the plural pronoun format we've been using on this blog for this post, since Baby G is not in agreement with much of what I'm about to say. It should also be noted that this post has nothing to do with New Zealand, and is just me expressing an opinion, so if you follow our blog for travel stories, feel free to go to another post - they'll be there. This one is just... well, you'll see.

Over the course of the last several years, there is something that I've been hearing all over. Everywhere I go; a restaurant, friend's house, bar, or even on the street coming out of the speakers of a passing car, I've been hearing Johnny Cash.

I was all set to rant and rave last week about this. I'm a fan of music in general, and have always felt I could hold my own in a conversation regarding it. Sure, I represent the unpopular opinion of not caring much for The Doors, but I've always been openminded regarding anything, new or old, in order to form an educated opinion. But I've never liked the music of Johnny Cash. I don't know why, it's just never appealed to me. Now, normally, this is not a big deal, as, like I said, I don't like The Doors but I don't have to hear them that much. But it occurred to me the other day (while hearing some Cash song at Burgerfuel) that in recent years, Johnny Cash has risen in popularity among a whole new generation.

I didn't pay attention while it was happening, but it was in the span of two, two-and-a-half years that Johnny Cash released a cover of the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt" (which got tremendous airplay), Walk the Line came out (to critical and commercial acclaim), and Mr. Cash passed away. Every time I turn around, it seems there's one more thing to know about Johnny Cash and I never cared that much to begin with.

Before you start writing in, commenting and emailing us lambasting my opinion of Cash, read on to understand the title of this post.

I was ready, guys. I was all set to type about Johnny Cash and how much I don't care and how annoyed I was that this guy, whom I perceive to be a mediocre musician was getting such a huge blowup lately. I fell asleep right THROUGH the movie, by the way (I am my mother's son). I have been having a tough time relating to his music, and have been getting increasingly frustrated by friends of mine who were listening to him. When I was a teenager, a person who became a fan of someone because everyone else was was called a "Frontrunner" - it applied to sports fans and other stuff as well. I have been considering people from my generation who routinely listen to Johnny Cash to be frontrunners. I felt they joined the Cash train only because everyone else was, and if they'd just listen, they'd hear very little of value. So, like I said, I was set. My knuckles were cracked and I was sitting down at the computer. The Simpsons was on in the background, I had a hot cup of coffee, and I was going to simply finish the post, come what may from my friends who disagree, and vent away.

Have I ever mentioned that The Simpsons is one of my favorite shows? Baby G doesn't dig it as much, but for me, it's been a part of growing up. It's a piece of Americana that has gone global. The show has been on for most of my life, and I even fondly remember nights when I couldn't sleep, and my folks would be up watching The Tracy Ullman Show, and I would wait patiently for the Simpsons vignettes to come on so I could laugh my head off before crawling back into bed. This may seem like a digression, but everyone out there in cyberland should know that The Simpsons is worth watching - at least a little - because episodes of that show are what alien life forms will find of us when we're all extinct.

There is one episode in particular I've always loved, because it was one of the first times I felt the creators of the show branched out artistically. The premise is, Homer eats a hot pepper at the local Chili Cook Off, and it is SO hot, he begins to hallucinate. The sky becomes a rainbow, and there's a talking turtle and fox, and everything is swirly and funny for about 10 minutes. I've always enjoyed this episode immensely, and have long since considered it my favorite. Anybody know where this is going?

Last night, sitting at the computer, ready to post about Johnny Cash and my dislike of his current fame, I heard his voice. Coming from the cartoon fox. On the TV.

And I realized that maybe the Man in Black isn't so bad, after all.

I was humbled, and have altered my post to admit to you, everyone in cyberspace, that even I, am sometimes, a stubborn idiot.

Be good.


They've been bugging me

One thing of which New Zealanders are very proud is the fact that there are no poisonous plants here, and no animals that can kill you. There are no snakes, no poisonous spiders, and no wild cats. On occasion, you'll hear about wild boars out in the bush, but that's it.

Well, while this information would normally put travellers mind's at ease, what they don't tell you is that every bug here is HUGE. We aren't kidding. We showed you the weta already, but you should know that the mosquitoes here have legs that could easily be compared to the size of your whole palm.

In addition (and this is the part where you laugh at us more than you have been), does anyone remember the cicada infestation of Washington, DC last summer? When the whole city was an inch deep in really large, clumsy insects that, even though they can't bite/sting you, crunch when you step on them and are so gross that you can't go outside for fear of inhaling one? Well, it's not every 17 years they show their ugly little heads, here. In NZ, it's every year.

When we got back from the vineyard, we left the next morning to go replenish the fridge. The second we exited the house, we were yelling to each other to be heard over the incessant buzzing and clicking of these enormous insects. Until one flew (or rather, BONKed) into Baby G's face. It was pretty bad shopping trip after that, and we only had to go 15 feet out the door for it to be frustratingly gross.

Don't get us wrong. We so far LOVE New Zealand and everything it has to offer. We've made lifelong friends of our flatmates and some other people we've met in our travels. We've been treated kindly, and will look forward to repaying the favor should any of our new friends find their way to the New York area in the coming year. We do, however, believe that since none of the bugs are actually harmful to you, Kiwis may have been desensitized to the actual size of the bug. So, from two Yanks to you Kiwis: Just 'cuz it don't hurt, don't mean it ain't REALLY STARTLING.

Did you know the spiders they used in Arachnophobia were actually shipped over from New Zealand because they were the right size, but non-harmful to the actors? Do you REMEMBER the movie? 'Nuff said.


Well, it's been awhile since we've posted, and even longer since any of you have commented (ahem!), so we figured we'd throw out an update.

We've spent the better part of the last week looking for work, so we can make enough scratch to explore the South Island a little while and then head back to the East Coast of the good ol' US of A. It's harder than you'd think. Dizzle had an interview at an arcade - a job for which he is overqualified - and was denied the position. He has another interview at a temp agency today and we both have 2 set up for tomorrow. By Sunday, we should have a good idea of our ETA back home.

So, since we'll be in town this afternoon anyway, we've decided it's important to go to a protest in honor of International Women's Day (the commemorative day is what's international - not the women, although we suppose some of them are, too). A couple weeks ago, a court case made headlines here in New Zealand involving three police officers who have been accused of raping a woman 18 years ago. One cop, Clint Rickards, was the Commissioner of Police in Auckland and was highly successful. After a several-month-long trial, all three men were acquitted of all charges, saying the woman (and all those who've come forward with the same or similar allegations since) was a consenting partner. That she was 17 at the time is apparently a moot point.

Well, once the case was over, and this guy Rickards is fighting to get his job back (you should see him in interviews, by the way - he's a really angry guy), it has come out that the other two cops were in jail the whole time. That's right, folks. In the States, if a convict (for whatever reason) is on trial for another crime, we usually know he's a convict at the time, right? Usually the handcuffs and orange jumpsuit give it away. On the occasion that he's allowed to wear a suit (we are not experts in criminal law, and don't know the distinction. In this case, it doesn't matter), it's still released that he lives in, you know, a cell. Well, not here. Here, if you're in prison while they're trying you for another crime, you don't know they're inmates until after the verdict is read.

So follow us here: 3 cops busted for rape. All 3 acquitted. 1 is highly successful and is currently fighting to get his job back after he's been 'slandered'. 2 are already in prison. What are they in prison for, you ask? What crime did 2 upstanding civic officers do to be put in prison previous to these accusations? They were there for...wait for it... rape. We kid you not.

So there's a protest today in Wellington that we're going to attend. There's also one in Auckland and one in Christchurch. We'll let you know what it was like in the next couple days, but in the meantime, feel free to google some of the details of the trial. Just because we're not citizens doesn't mean we shouldn't fight for what's right. We're glad there's a protest at all, as many countries wouldn't even allow that much.

We'll keep you posted on all of it. Wish us luck on the job thing.


Making Peas With a Rock

This week marks the halfway point of our time here in New Zealand. This blog is MORE than halfway done as we had so many posts before we actually left. We know this news is making you cry, and to that we say, "Walk it off." because we are uncaring, militant people.

Speaking of militant people, one thing we have yet to mention regarding our vineyard work is regarding our co-workers. There are several things we've done as yet that 'most Americans have never, and will never get to do'. We've tried vegemite. We've swum in the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean on the same day. We've hitchhiked across an entire island nation. And now, since many of you will never do this, we've worked with Iraqis.

Barnsey had been telling us during the whole of the first week about the vineyard work ethic of different ethnic groups. He had been saying he needed some "Thais", as they perform well. He also said he might get some Iraqis to help out.

We were a little concerned. On one hand, we're all the same inside, and everyone is going to be there on the field trying to scrape by an honest day's work. On the other hand, our country is in a completely unwinnable, unfair war with another country, and we were about to have to apologize. The fact that neither of us have ever voted for President Bush became a moot point, as we didn't know what to expect.

The first day (with other people working besides Chris, Barnsey, and the two of us) there was only one. His name is Khili, but he introduced himself as "Saddam". Ha! Wacky sense of humor these Iraqis have! He was a good worker, although Dizzle felt he could've kept his eyes to himself a little more. At one point, he asked Baby G where she was from, as she is of Indian decent and so her skin is darker than others. She replied, "I'm an American." He pressed on, "No, you are not. You are dark. You are Arab?" Again, she said (For those of you who don't know Baby G, this was already more conversation than she wanted. She was hot, tired, and in desperate need of a pedicure and 60-minute massage), "I'm an American." This went on until Dizzle showed up. He had been running errands with the boss and had missed this whole exchange. After Khili had sussed out that we were both Americans, he pulled Dizzle aside and asked if Baby G was "his". Dizz didn't know how to respond to that, but figured the dude meant, you know, dating, so he replied in the affirmative. Khili then went on to explain to Dizz that he was "looking for another woman, because the one he has is [we swear to God he said this word] 'broken'". Later in the evening, after we'd returned home and had a chance to reflect on meeting our first person from Iraq, we realized his being Iraqi was not a reason to dislike or distrust him, but the fact that he referred to a woman as "broken" sure as hell was. We still don't know what he meant, and never bothered to engage him enough again to find out.

The next day, Khili was there with a guy who spoke almost no English named, we are not kidding, Muhammad Ali. And he used to BOX! We found all this out about him after a spirited conversation during teatime where we learned from he and Khili that Americans are solely to blame for any problem in the air (including pollution and the ozone), land (erosion and global warming), and petrol. We had to agree, if only to avoid an argument. Arabic is a heated language as it is, and we were not about to interrupt anyone airing their grievances about a country that is, as we speak, murdering thousands of people in the country where these guys are from. It was an interesting predicament. We've left the States to see more of the world, they left Iraq out of necessity. No one was going to disagree that Saddam and Bush are bad men, but how could we apologize for an entire country? How do you say, "Yeah, we're screwing you and your kin. Sorry 'bout that."?

We began to start conversations with, "Do you still have family in Iraq, and is everyone okay?" This seemed to let them know that we are not Americans who are proud of the actions of our country, but rather Americans who are compassionate and are doing our best to broaden what is stereotypically a narrow viewpoint on the rest of the world. It seemed to work, although Muhammad Ali never really did seem anything other than pissed off. Perhaps it's a language barrier.

The third one we met (they were adding a new Iraqi every day!) is named Zydan. We immediately informed him (after asking if his family back home was okay, of course) that his named sounded like a bitchin' name for a comic book hero, or a Mortal Kombat character. This, in theory, should've broken the ice. It didn't. Perhaps because there isn't much ice in Iraq, we don't know. Regardless, Zydan is a very quiet man who used to be a teacher in Iraq. He taught primary school children Arabic and Geography before he left the regime and had to get work wherever he could. Baby G and Zydan worked together for an entire afternoon, and got along swimmingly. He told her all about back 'home', and that he writes as often as he can, but his mail reaches his family pre-opened. He said his English isn't good enough to get another teaching job, but that he feels he's getting a little old for farm-work. Zydan is a really nice guy, and was our first non-guilt-inducing experience with Iraqis of the whole week.

On our last day on the vineyard, we met the fourth and final member of their crew, Muhammad's son Ali. All of nineteen, Ali spoke with a Kiwi accent and informed us that he is also fluent in Arabic and Pakistani. He's looking forward to saving up money to move to "Aussie" for the sun. We told him he could seriously make a lot of money in peace and conflict resolution or diplomacy because people who speak both Arabic and English are tough to come by. His eyes lit up at the thought of money, but we're pretty sure he'll be on the beach in Australia in six months, meeting girls and surfing. Ah, to be a teenager again. :)

So that's our experience with our first Iraqis. We all think Saddam and Bush (and Condi, and Rummy, and Cheney, etc.) are bad people, and we are all aware of the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer worldwide. And just like in the States, they were all different: one was rude, one was angry, one was a fun-loving kid, and one was just a normal, humble dude trying to make ends meet for his family. Hopefully, they see Americans similarly now, and are not convinced we're all fat, white cold people with a chip on our shoulders. Hopefully they can go back to their families and tell them that not all Americans are bad, just the ones on top.

We feel proud of ourselves for functioning alongside different kinds of people, and glad we had the experience. Working with Iraqis, because they're Iraqis, was one of the most rewarding experiences we've had here, and is not one we're likely to forget.

Well, we'll remember it for as long as we can, anyway. Until we're 'broken'.

Three Blind Mice

From another hemisphere, you can still count on Baby G and Dizzle to get a song stuck in your head. They actually have these here.

You're welcome.


Save as...

There's something here, in the Kiwi vernacular, that is going to be tough to explain, and though we'll sound stupid using it at home, we'll probably take it to the States anyway, because everyone does it, here.

What happens is, basically, 2/3 of a simile. If something is going really well, they'll throw down an adjective, followed by the word "as", and then... nothing. A typical exchange might go like this:

Baby G: So, a 'touchdown' is a 'try', and a 'field goal' is a 'conversion', right?

Andrew: Right. Want some pavlova?

Baby G: Sweet as!

"Sweet as" (Like, "Sweet as sugar!", but without the noun. NEVER the noun.) is by far the most common example of this, and it's used all over... sometimes even in place of "You're welcome" (though "No worries" fits there, too). To us, it sounded a little like, "Sweet ass", which our friend Scott used to say all the time anyway, so that's a little strange on several levels.

That said, "Sweet" is not the only adjective used. Over the course of our time on the vineyard, we heard the following:

Keen as!

Smooth as!

Slick as!

Cool as!

Tight as!

And it's not just when something is "sweet" (like, "awesome" not necessarily 'sugary', you dig?). In the case of that last example, the nets (remember the vine nets? Scroll down) were literally laced together within the aisle in such a way that is was, in fact, "Tight as." Tight as what, exactly, we don't know, a drum?

Interestingly, you never hear "Bad as", which is the one phrase with which Dizz could've fit in, as "Badass" is common for him*. Alas (al as).

Now, it should be noted that the emphasis of all of these is on "as", not the adjective preceding it. So it comes out almost all in one word, with the second syllable always being 'as' and always being stressed.

Now, there's more. Differently than the Canadian stereotype (Not Fred nor Kreeson, however), people here end sentences with something that sounds remarkably like "ay" - like a rhetorical question. This is another toughie to explain, because it sounds infinitely cooler than the Canadian version, but will be almost impossible to convey in type. You should all know that we have started to pick up both, and we are sorry for how that's going to sound upon our return. Things like this could be typical at first:

Rev. J: How was your flight, Dizzle?

Dizzle: Fast as, ay?

Rev J: You're adopted, by the way.

Ready to play along? Well, we've included something interactive for all of you. It'll be a little like school, but you won't be graded (only ridiculed). You can check your answers by clicking "Comments" for this post. Ready? Here we go.

To a Kiwi, which comment about the above picture would be most accurate?

a. The lambs are cute.
b. The lambs are cute as, ay.
c. The lambs in a hot curry would be sweet as, ay.

The dog is

a. furry.
b. furry as.
c. furry as, ay.
d. Rex.
e. all of the above

On the above table is a pair of candles, a paua shell, a jug of sun tea, a white clay pitcher, and a red tin. Which one is decidedly un-Kiwi and why?

In the above photo, Chris is

a. constipated.
b. contemplating the 'ifs' of life.
c. meditating.
d. sweet as. No worries. F***in' awesome!

So next time you're at your computer, and you need to save something on your desktop, or someplace accessible, when you click "Save as", think of us. We're laughing a little, too. After all, it's funny as, ay?

* "Supid as" a.k.a. "Stupidass" also doesn't happen, here, though the seas can be "rough as" or one can feel "sick as" - so it's not always a positive thing.