Sunday, December 30, 2007

Gotta eat

Unfortunately, New Zealand does not have Jimmy John's, California Taco or La Casa, so I've had to find new favorite restaurant and take-away foods. Fortunately, doing so has been quite easy.

Fish and chips Or "fush and chups," as the vowel-mangling Kiwis often say. This is a cheap-as (not ass--it's kiwi slang) food option, with two pieces of fish and a load of fries costing usually less than seven bucks. My favorite fish so far would have to be gurnard--light and flaky with a nice taste.

Pies New Zealanders love their pies. Every corner bakery and grocery has a large range of fresh pies--mince, steak, kidney, steak and cheese, and too many more to name. You eat them with your hands, careful not to let the gravy inside leak onto your clothes. You can also get them from the grocery store and heat them up in the microwave. In short, pies are handfuls of flaky, gooey, meaty goodness.

Butter chicken I had never had Indian food before I came to New Zealand. Wellington has countless Indian restaurants. I've come to love butter chicken--I'd say it's one of my favorite foods. Nice rich butter and tomato curry loaded with chicken, on top of rice. Oh, and you have to have garlic naan bread. Every time I have this dish is like a religious experience. I think I just convinced myself to have some for lunch.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas downunder

After several days of technical troubles, I'm finally able to bring you this post.

My first Christmas away from home was also my first Christmas in another country--and my first Christmas in the Summer. And while it didn't really feel like Christmas, celebrating the holidays in the Summer is fine with me. A couple of my coworkers had a big party at their house. Being Irish, they had a lot of other Irish friends there as well. If you've never partied with Irish, you are missing out.

One of our turkeys was cooked on the grill...delicious.

There was plenty of Diet Coke and lemonade for us to enjoy throughout the day.

Shorts on Christmas day? Better believe it. An impromptu cricket game even struck up.

And the night ended with a bonfire and drunken Irish songs. Happy Birthday, Santa!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tis the season...?

Right now is the first time I've really felt like it was getting close to Christmas. I'm in a computer lab (hostel computers are not working) and there is Christmas music playing. Kiwis--at least those in Wellington--don't seem to get too festive. Christmas is celebrated here, for sure, but decorations and seasonal spirit is lacking. Not that I'm particularly festive this time of year--I don't care for Christmas music one bit. It's just that it's hard to believe the year is coming to and end without the constant reminders of the season--trees everywhere, garland, signs in shops wishing you a "Merry Christmas!" It's just not everywhere, in your face like it is back home. But nonetheless, it is almost here, and I will get two days off from work because of it--the 26th is a public holiday here too!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Still not a whore

Seriously guys, didn't I explain how I insisted on hourly pay so I didn't become a bitch? Also, the place is owned by a Michelin-rated chef, his wife, and another chef who has a small stake; not some giant, faceless conglomerate. But what's most important is that I really enjoy my job, which I couldn't really say six months ago.

I will give you some more interesting tidbits about my job and about dining in New Zealand later this week. Or it may be next week (I put in 60 hours last week, and this one may be the same). But I will get new stuff up here soon!

Friday, December 14, 2007


Only one month into my job as a waiter, I've been promoted. I'm now an assistant manager in training. My boss offered me the position--quite unexpectedly--this week. Initially, she offered me a salary, but we all know that salary in a hospitality job means I would be their bitch. So I asked for hourly pay and to throw in a manager meal discount as well. I'll have to close the restaurant twice a week and either organize the orders or wait on a section other nights. Should be fun, and I'll be able to save even more money.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Thanks Bogard!

Because he's a top-notch kind of guy, my buddy Bogard has hooked me up with and official Corporate Whore No More bracelet to replace the Corporate Whore bracelet that I threw into the Auckland harbor. He gave me that one for my 24th birthday last year. The new custom-made bracelet finally arrived in Wellington last week, after being made in China, sent to the US (too late for my departure), mailed to Wellington and briefly lost in the NZ mail.

Thanks man

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sad news from home

Who knows why people do stupid things like what happened in Omaha today. People out doing their Christmas shopping end up dying at the hand of a suicidal gunman... Thankfully my family is OK. But since names of the victims have not been released yet, we have no idea if anyone we know was involved. The mall is only about five minutes away from my parents' house. I used to work at the Panera Bread next to the store. A lot of customers at the restaurant ask where I am from, and now this is a terrible thing for them to associate with my home; this incident is making news here. And it just fuels the stereotype that Americans are gun-toting crazies. Sad.

My thoughts are with you Omaha.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Bits and Pieces

Work Work is going pretty well. Starting to get lots of hours. Also have been given some more responsibilities. I'm just that cool. I think I might have to ask for a raise.

Sports I watched some more cricket yesterday. There's a stadium five minutes or so from the hostel where you can just go watch the games for free, sitting on the berm. Cricket is a really long, drawn-out game. There's no such thing as balls or strikes like baseball has, so the batsman can see as many balls as he wants before he hits one. Yesterday was day four of a four-day match.

In other Wellington sporting news, the city has been abuzz for the last week in anticipation of a visit from the LA Galaxy--David Beckham's new team. Becks and LA beat the Wellington Phoenix 4-1 last night. A private investor helped fund Galaxy's trip, which included a guarantee that Beckham would play at least 50 minutes of the match.

Celebrities Speaking of famous people, I had my first Wellywood star sighting last night (as I said in a previous post, Wellington is home to NZ's film industry). As we were enjoying a post-shift beer in front of the restaurant, Giovanni Ribisi (Phoebe's little brother on Friends) strolled down the street. He's in town, along with Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Rodriguez, to work on a big-budget James Cameron movie. One of my coworkers apparently bumped into Sigourney at the grocery store last week.

That's about all I have of any importance right now. My life consists of lots of work, sleeping until 10:30, staying out til 3:30 and trying my best to enjoy the beautiful weather we've been having. I hope everyone is staying warm back in Omaha. I'm wearing shorts.