Automotive Nana doesn’t sound good. So I took her to a recommended oil change shop. The oil changer had a look at her and said she’d need to see the mechanic first, because the wheel bearings were off. I got his name, took it to the next shop, and made it sound like I was personal buds with Graham at Oil Changers. Surely they wouldn’t take advantage of Graham’s little blonde friend?
I am now stalling in town and came to a café to get a flat white.
“’Ello darlin’! Can you do me a big favor?” the waitress in the hairnet asked with a fatigued yet cheerful tone.
“Please, please set these plates over with the other ones…” she nodded to her right while she wiped her brow with her sleeve.
I glanced over my shoulder and moved the plates two small Beth steps and put them down.
“Oh, my goodness, thank you, thank you, sweetie,” she said, over appreciatingly.
“No problem at all.”
I ordered a flat white and a side salad, because when she described the salad, it sounded lovely and healthily packed full of vegetables.
“You know what, darling, I’ll take ten cents off of your order for that kind favor you did for me,” she said with rosy cheeks and a smile. I was tempted to say, I’ll come back there and make my own salad if you’ll take more off.
The salad came out and was packed full of vegetables, but it was also packed with a baseball size spoonful of mayonnaise. The healthy vegetables were suffocating.
I scraped it off and asked if they had an olive oil and vinegar. My new waitress friend said, “Oh no, honey, we don’t. Do you need some more may-oh-naaisse?”
“Oh, goodness no. Thank you though.”
Kiwis like mayonnaise as dressing. And beet root is on almost everything, including burgers. You don’t tip at restaurants and most of the time, you order at the counter and get a number (or a picture of Ryan Gosling) for them to bring your food or coffee out later. Chips are fries. And fries are fries. Salads are usually $18-25. Scones are everywhere and biscuits don’t exist. Not even at McDonalds before 10:30am. Most pies are filled with meat. Starbucks here never serves pumpkin spice lattes. Ever. “Cuppa” means a cup of tea, a cup or coffee, or just “let’s take a break.” Instead of “whole” and “skim” milk, it’s “standard” and “trim.” Water usually doesn’t come with ice. Soda water usually isn’t free. Ginger beer and L&P are more abundant than Coca-Cola.
Now you know.
Oh, and Nana received $300 of work to pass her warrant of fitness. She got a new tire, the terrible sound coming from the boot is gone, and her headlights are shiny. I might sell Nana for some cash to some lucky traveler who will appreciate our awesome mix of bumper stickers. It depends where I decide to finish up the year. If I settle in Dunedin and work for Green Man Brewery (I am buddies with the owner now!) and end up changing the name to Green Gal Brewery, I will rent a room somewhere near town and walk. It’s a very nice walkable town. And my new favorite espresso is near the Octagon, where it all happens. “It” being whimsy, live music, craft fairs, dancing, etc. I also applied for a job at a Bed and Breakfast in Nelson, where it is a bit more sunny. I love breakfast and I love bed. Almost as much as Mitch loves lunch, chairs, and dinner. We shall see. I do know, I will start ordering my salads mayonnaise free.