Posted by: annie | February 25, 2010

Jandles Shmandles

Jandles (flip-flops) are the preferred footwear for Kiwis right now but guess what? you don’t have to wear shoes if you don’t want to! I love it, barefoot in the store, barefoot on the bus, barefoot in the car.  I’ve always loved to drive barefoot, but was scared off from it by people telling me it was illegal……  Aarrggh!  a google search has just informed me that barefoot driving is in fact not prohibited in the U.S. I even told someone here that it was illegal. Huh, I could have been barefoot driving all along with no worries. Did you guys know this?

Anyway, last weekend I got to explore a little more of the area when Tracey invited me to go along with her to a friend’s singing performance. She was performing about 30 miles north at a restaurant.  As we drove up and down the winding roads of the towns along the way, I was repeatedly struck by the beauty of the view. As soon as the ocean would come into view on either side of me I would invariably exclaim “It’s so beautiful”. After about the fourth or fifth time, Tracey looked over and laughed at me realizing this wasn’t a routine landscape for me as it was for her. Maybe tourists who aren’t as in love with the ocean as I am aren’t as deeply affected. She suggested we stop for a couple of photos sensing my desire to stop for a moment and take it in. Here are a couple of photos from the drive.

“A burger’s not a burger without beetroot” (Tracey)

They put beetroot (beets) on their hamburgers. Seriously! While we were watching the musical performance, I ordered a hamburger (yes I’m eating some red meat these days) and it came with two slices of steamed beets, lettuce and tomato. Now, I know some of you probably think that sounds disgusting, but personally I consider it an improvement. Just in case you doubt the love of beetroot, the NZ McDonald’s apparently has a Kiwi burger that comes with beetroot. Maybe put some beetroot on your next burger and let me know what you think. It’s good people. Here are some pics from our afternoon of music:

this is Tracey and her old boarder who is now engaged to the woman singing

On the way home we drove past this road sign:

Now, ladies and some of you gents, wouldn’t you stop????

Tracey and I followed the Big Manly Beach sign discussing imagined big manly men we hoped to encounter once we arrived. Here’s what we found:

One of the women on the beach suggested with a laugh that we also check out Little Manly Beach across the road. We decided to skip it. We’d drive by. Turns out we were in the town of Manly. A place where they enjoyed using the town name quite a bit. Manly Bank, Manly Pharmacy, Manly Grocery, and my favorite Manly Boxing Gym.

I started school this week. If you want to feel your age, take a little walk through a college campus. It’s not that I feel so old, but they look so young. I’m only on campus two days a week which is great, today my study time was spent on the beach.

We had an interesting exchange in one of my classes. During orientation it was noted that New Zealand is a flat society which means that people typically address each other by first name regardless of title. So, in my class the Professor reiterated this and asked to be called Michael and as it happens had to address this oh, about 10 more times during the class. Why? Because we have women (my class is about 99% female) from all over the globe: American, English, Chinese, Korean, Irish, Samoan, Tongan, Turkish, Indian, African, Maori, and one or two Pakeha (white New Zealanders). Turns out the Korean, Chinese, and particularly the Indian woman could not address him by his first name and he wasn’t having it. It would go something like this over and over again.

“Please call me Michael”
“I can’t, in my culture……”
“I understand, call me Micheal”
“Uh, Professor?”
“Nope, Micheal”

He gave them permission many times, but each of them was unable to break through that cultural programming. It was so interesting seeing that struggle. It didn’t happen that day, but I’m curious to see just how long it takes for these women to allow themselves to say “Michael”.

That’s all for now mates. I’m starting my search for a car soon, so I can travel around more once I have one. I’m feeling itchy and needing to get on the road for some exploration. I’m not even going to address my possible shortcomings when it comes to driving and how they might affect my ability to drive on the other side of the road and somehow overcome any habitual driving patterns to avoid driving into oncoming traffic……… I’m just looking for a car:)



  1. good god please tell me you’ll practice being in your body in present time when you drive before you go out on the road in NZ!!!!!

    the olympics were awesome; i’m so tired but wanted to say hi! more soon…

  2. ps can’t believe people walk around stores barefoot. haven’t you all heard of the worms that burrow up into your foot? there’s my cultural programming 🙂

    • Jen and Joelfre, I will definitely practice before going out on the road and do appreciate your words of advice as the two people who have driven with me most often in the last few years I know it comes from a place of unnerved experience. ha ha you survived:)

  3. What a fascinating blog entry! I thoroughly enjoyed reading it – from the beet roots to the “sir Michael” stuff. I’m so glad you’re having a great time. Oh, and I love the name for flip flops.

  4. Wow! The thought of you driving there is exciting…I think you know what I mean. Try to focus on the road and then the destination once you get to the destination….love you!

    And, I’m excited to hear about the many cultural understandings that you are going to be a part of in your time there!

    And finally, my cultural programming also says, “be cautious with the worms, bacteria, etc if walking around barefeet in crowds….gross!”

    I’m just sayin…

  5. Annmarie, very good, loved the beets on the burger, just my style and yes, I am going to try it. I used to drive barefoot all the time, loved it.
    What a beautiful place you are living in, I get more and more jealous!!
    Hope you are enjoying your classes and do well. Good luck on the car hunting.
    Talk to you soon Aunt J

  6. Dearest Annie~

    Barefeet in the store? Yeah, that would take some undoing of old programs for me? While barefeet driving might be equally “dirty” somehow it just feels liberating because it seems like you aren’t supposed to be doing it! Long live the rebel!!!

    If one is not a beet fan I wonder if it would taste better on a burger? Gonna give it a try.

    Please keep us posted on the professor salutations/addressing ~fascinating.

    Love you-

    PS. Licks from Zora

  7. I would be on Manly Beach! Or maybe not…need to get into the gym…when the new laptop gets hear I will have a webcam. We need to find a why to talk online.

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