It's true what they say after all - New Zealand people are incredibly friendly!
Everyone I've spoken today in Auckland has been nothing but courteous and helpful.
Even at the airport.
The staff at Los Angeles this morning weren't fantastic - I know they're protecting America's borders but do they have to do it in such a po-faced fashion? The passport officer asked individually for my passport, travel documents and flight tickets, somehow without using the word 'please' once.
Mind you, that's better than the emigration official on the way in. He glanced down at my passport photo, looked up at me and asked: 'Are you a junkie?'
Today I received the best haircut of my life. Why now, when I have so little hair left to cut, is beyond me.
My barber was a South Korean Elvis impersonator, who took great pride in what some would consider a thankless task, and spent around half an hour in total on it.
After shaving my head, he meticulously tidied up the stray hairs (it gets more interesting soon - I promise!). Then he shaved around the edges with an open blade, and also shaved my ear lobes and forehead. He plucked a couple of rogue hairs form the top of my ears (they really bug me when they appear, but these were so short I hadn't even noticed them yet...) and trimmed my eyebrows. He moisturised my head and neck, and blow-dried my head to clean away the chopped off hair.
Then he proceeded to give me a head, neck and shoulder massage.
He seemed surprised that I was so impressed with it, and doubly surprised when I tipped him.
After leaving I wandered past an idle tarot card reader in Victoria Park Market who started chatting to me and, correctly guessing I was Scottish, asked my if I knew that the Holy Grail is supposed to be buried in Scotland. I told her I did.
Then she asked me if I knew that the Grail isn’t a cup, but actually the skull of Jesus, brought back from the crusades by the Knights Templar.
I told her I didn’t.
Oh – and another thing I know today that I didn’t yesterday – Guinness in New Zealand is 5% ABV… The barman who served me my dock-side pint told me it’s the only way the Kiwi’s know how to do it so Guinness don’t complain.
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