This is the post for random miscellany I didn’t want to stick in any of the other posts. It’s going to be a lot more words and a lot less focused than the stuff I usually post. You have been warned :)
Australia and New Zealand enjoy a fairly promiscuous political relationship. Traveling between the two countries is easy for citizens of either. Some Aussies told me that Australians can even come to New Zealand and vote in national elections here, though I’m not entirely sure I believe that. If you see something wonky in New Zealand, the explanation is frequently “oh, Australia does it that way and we copied them”. But despite how it seems like the two countries should just go ahead and get a room, if you ever want to see a Kiwi angry just call him an Aussie. Basically, New Zealand is Australia’s Canada.
It’s also quite easy for an American to get a tourist visa for Australia, but it does require advance work. Australia do not seem to offer visa on arrival. Be aware of this in case you intend to travel there and are an American citizen.
It’s difficult to find root beer, especially good root beer, in New Zealand. It is equally difficult in Australia, but they seem to have a national love of Sarsaparilla. Until this trip, I had erroneously assumed that it was spelled Sasparilla, as it’s pronounced, but I have learned the error of my ways! Sarsaparilla is not exactly root beer, but it’s similarly tasty.
I believe this is the only time I’ve ever exited from the rear of an airplane. I guess it’s because the Gold Coast airport is too small to have a jetway. Or maybe it’s because I’m usually a smarmy jerk whose airline status lets him sit up front so I don’t get to see the rear passengers deplaning. I thought it was cool enough that I took a photo of it even though you’re not supposed to take your phone out on the tarmac.
The international terminal of the Auckland airport is effectively a shopping mall. I know this is fairly common amongst airports, but while I normally find shopping malls (and airports, for that matter) stressful to the point of being angst-inducing, for some reason I find myself much more favorably disposed toward the Auckland airport.
Burger King is called Hungry Jack’s in Australia, sort of like a Hardee’s / Carl’s Jr. situation. There was already a burger takeaway place called Burger King in place when the big BK tried to move in to Australia.
King is a quite common surname in Australia, and there’s an urban legend that there was a curmudgeonly old man living out in the bush named Burger King who came in to the city and saw a restaurant bearing his name. He sued the company saying that they can’t use his name to sell rubbish food and won. Even though he is now dead, his legacy lives on in the Hungry Jack name all Burger King franchises have to take in Oz. Delightful as this story is, it is also sadly untrue.
Nobody tell Queensland that Florida is also called the Sunshine State, or else they might change their name to the Hungry Jack’s State.
This is my fellow Kiwi, Jordan, in Broadbeach in Gold Coast. He struck what is quite possibly the best pose ever struck by a human being. I hear that Queensland is going to create a statue of the pose in this precise location to commemorate the event. I have a few other photos of Broadbeach, but as it was dark they are pretty boring so I didn’t post them in any of the Gold Coast posts.
I had so many miscellaneous thoughts and photos I made it into two posts! Pt 2 coming soon!