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New Zealand road rules are screwed!

I'm sitting here looking out on a rain-swept view of the bay in front of the house. It's so beautiful here, I see it every day under all kinds of various weather conditions, and I just hope I never take it for granted.

Yesterday, Michelle and I went for a drive westwards along the south coast. Again, I saw some beautiful sites. At one point, we stopped to look out into the oceab where there was a large island, shimmering in the distance. It looked like something you see in adventure movies, where they spot land from a ship or sailing boat, and as they come closer to it, it shimmers and has faint cloud cover around it. It's awesome to see something like it in reality. I wasn't on a ship though, but we stopped at this lookout area by the side of the road and looked at it, and took some photos. I took some photos of this glorious coastline that was visible there as well, that we were driving along. Further on into our drive, we stopped at a town and walked along the beach, looking out at the same island, which seemed a bit closer now. Unfortunately the sun was above and on the other side of it, so everything we could see of it was in shadow. We went a different route back, passing by what looked like a lake but was apparently a large inlet of the ocean. Another beautiful photo shoot…

Yesterday was the first time I'd actually taken photos here in Wellington. Before we went for the drive, I took some photos of the view from our 'front yard', showing the bay, the cliffs opposite, and the airport. I'll be posting them for you to see – as soon as I get them developed and scanned. I hope they turn out ok…

Last Friday was my last day at the cybercafe, but today I'm going to put my feelers (and CV) out and see what jobs will come to me. Wish me luck…

Now it's time for a rant and rave. The road rules here are just screwed!! It's more like there AREN'T any!! It's like they create these roads but then don't know how to create appropriate rules or conditions for them. Here are a few examples… My first surprise was last week, when I was on a main road and I wanted to turn right onto a side street. An oncoming car was also about to turn left into the same street, but he stopped at the corner and looked at me. I wondered what his problem was, and then Michelle told me he was giving way to me. I said he's a moron, and she said no, that's the law. So then, as I took the turn, I was exclaiming about how stupid that law was. It meant that he had to give way to me, even though he was oncoming and turning into that street… and I had to give way to oncoming traffic as well. So according to the law, he had to wait until I turned, and I had to wait until other oncoming cars passed by, before I turned as well. How screwed is that…! The next surprise came when I found out that if I'm coming to a t-junction in front of me, I have right of way over those on the main throughway. Sheesh. Yesterday I encountered a crossroad intersection where ever entry into that intersection had a stop sign. Everyone stops, no-one gives way. So you can have all these cars stopped, looking at each other. Right of way goes to the one who's courageous enough to go first, hoping no-one else is courageous at the same time!! Also yesterday, I encountered a give way sign on a road in front of a single lane bridge, but you had to give way to an intersection that was 40 yards up the road, on the other side of the bridge!! The problem is that it was a busy intersection, so you had to watch the road 100 yards further up for cars which were turning into the road you're on, 'cause by the time you got onto the bridge, they're trying to come onto it as well. And if some stupid idiot hasn't indicated, then you're both in trouble!! And that's another thing… no-one indicates!! Everyone changes lanes and turn corners without indicating. Those few rare occasions that I've actually seen someone indicate, I've guessed they must be Australians! Oh, and there's no speed signs, telling you what the different speeds are supposed to be on different roads and areas. I did see a sign yesterday that said "speed camera area", but again, there weren't any signs saying what speed you should be going at. LOL

Urban services are obviously far behind the times as well. Traffic lights are here, but today I saw a sticker on a car which said "I survived blah-blah's first traffic light" ("blah-blah" means "town named after a Maori word which I can't quite remember right now, nor would I be able to spell it if I could"). Police cars are few and far between – I've only seen three, and two of them were mid-80's Ford Falcon station wagons. On Saturday I saw an ambulance which was a 70's Dodge. I feel like I'm in a backwards-technology country… but at least it's beautiful!

On Saturday, Michelle and I became officially engaged. At this stage we're looking at having a double wedding around christmas/new year 2001/02, which will give us plenty of time to work out details and save up for it. It'll be a double wedding 'cause it'll be in England and then in Australia… It's possible that the marriage itself will be done simply (possibly even in NZ before we leave), and then we'll have the family/friend ceremonies in England and Australia… As I said, we're yet to work out the details.

My life in New Zealand has been the closest to paradise it could ever be. Both Michelle and I are extremely happy with each other, and with the plans we have for the future… everything is just perfect. It's like my life has been leading up to this, and everything's just come together as it should.

I just wish they'd get the road rules right…

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