10 January 2008

The Crusty Burger

Imagine this: a hamburger bun slathered in mayonnaise, then topped with a chicken patty. Two strips of steak are then piled on, followed by one fried egg, a slice of bacon, some melted cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and a couple slices of boiled beets. Let me introduce you to the crusty burger, a New Zealand creation which we enjoyed for one heart-stopping meal. McDonald's has a tamer version called the Kiwi burger, which we have yet to try.

There is no question that we are in New Zealand. One of our first tasks was to settle a dispute that cropped up between us. We had heavily debated the moniker "Kiwi." What came first, the fruit, the bird, or the appelation for the people of this nation? It turns out that kiwi, the popular name for a flightless bird of the genus Apteryx, are endemic to New Zealand. These birds were embroidered on the uniforms of the soldiers stationed in the UK, who were subsequently dubbed "Kiwis." The fruit was an imported fruit originally called the Chinese gooseberry. In a marketing ploy the name was switched to the melonette, but in order to avoid taxes on melons and perhaps due to the resemblance of the fruit with the hairy behind of the bird, an ultimate renaming was performed and the name stuck.

In our short time here we have realized that New Zealand justly deserves its reputation as the adventure sport capital of the world. We saw people jumping off the top of the 328-meter Auckland Skytower while dining at the revolving restaurant up top (Yes, they were strapped to wires and yes, we averaged 5 jumpers per lunch course). In Waitomo we jumped off the top of waterfalls in an inner tube, all in underground caverns lit by Arachnocampa, the mistakenly named glowworm. We passed on the chance to abseil 37 meters into the same underground caverns or to hurtle through the dark in a harness. While heading from the North to the South Island we decided not to bridge the divide via skydiving (a plane drops you off midair and delivers your luggage to you on the ground), choosing the boring old ferry instead. In Queenstown, bungy jumps are available from almost all tall vertical surfaces and it appears as if no tourist leaves without attempting one. Other activities include Rotorua's giant luge, zorbing, and rides named the Swoop, Freefall Extreme, and the Agrojet.

In truth, though, all this fun has left us feeling a little like kids who have had too much cake. We are definitely feeling quite homesick, and ready to start work on more substantial things. In a week we will be back to Dallas, and in less than a month we will be in Liberia. We can't wait.

1 comment:

proonner paraphrases said...

i think you can get one of those burgers in a place called the sunburnt cow here.. but imagine a hamburger (this was while i was in bejing) with a slice of ham inside a bun with kethcup and mustard..