Whakatane, New Zealand - Even the old people, without a smile or a smirk, pronounce this town "f***-a-tawny".
You can't buy anything in New Zealand for less than $25.00. I have no idea why they have smaller denominations of currency. They should just call the smallest denomination a stack of 25. We came to the town of Whakatane on the east coast of New Zealand's North Island to go diving and to swim with dolphins. They wanted 12 stacks or $300 a piece for a two-tank dive. Granted the money is a little less than our dollar, but it is still expensive as hell. When we go on walking tours, I wait in the car, while Ellen does her expensive walkabout. We've rented a camper van and eveyday it costs at least 2 1/2 stacks at the gas tank. Oh, and it's cold here too. You could live in Vietnam for half a year on what it costs in New Zealand for a week. I looked at the map of New Zealand and there's no direct driving route back to Vietnam. So we're here for another 8 days. The roadside greenery is very beautiful. And I especially love driving on the wrong side of the road. I would have sent some photos, but I don't have quite enough stacks at this time.
Now it's Ellen's turn...
Yes, it's expensive as hell, the weather is lousy but the scenery is gorgeous and the Rhododendrons(?)are in bloom - they are huge trees, not scrawny bushes like at home. Everything is huge including the cows, sheep, palm trees and ferns. Some of us try to make the best of things...
As for Vietnam, yes it's cheap and warm but it also gives you stomach upsets, coughing fits and frayed nerves from crazy drivers and constantly honking horns. Oh yeah, and then there are the toilets...
All part of the joys of travel.