Tuesday, February 27, 2007

So, what's there to kill in New Zealand?

A few days ago I had lunch (purely by an accident of musical chairs) with a guy whose primary interests were hunting and football. Actually, "primary interests" is probably too weak a phrase. I think for all intents and purposes these were his only interests and he had honed them to gleaming precision by siphoning away the mental energies most people spend on things such as work, relationships and maintaining a BMI lower that that of a walrus.

Here's a summary of our conversation:
  • After asking what part of England I was from, he told me (with a considerable degree of pride) that unlike most Americans, he knew exactly where New Zealand was. To his credit, he didn't think it was in Europe and was aware that New Zealand and Australia were different countries, however some of the finer details eluded him, such as the fact that there is an expanse of ocean between the two, and that NZ isn't "right alongside Australia, and up a 'lil bit".*
  • He then took the time to explain the culture and tradition around sporting events (apparentely the Superbowl is coming up). I was surprised to find that none of this was at all new because we've all seen American TV. Essentially there is a mass migration to the house of "he who owns the largest TV", and everyone who does not own the TV brings beer and chips. I asked him (jokingly) why they call it the "World Series" when the rest of the world isn't invited. If he saw the joke he didn't indicate it, but did seem mildly agitated that I had introduced a second sport to the conversation (for those who aren't aware, the World Series is baseball).
  • He did seem genuinely interested in the New Zealand terrain (and was surprised to know it's not very tropical looking at all). I started to explain that it was becoming popular for movies because of the variation, but it turned out he just wanted to know if it would make for interesting hunting.
  • He also wanted to know what there was to hunt in New Zealand, and if it was difficult to get permits. He was very surprised that koalas and kangaroos had never migrated into New Zealand, despite my insistence that the amount of ocean between the two really is quite large. He was also disappointed that despite looking "pretty much like a chicken", it was not common to eat "Kiwi Birds". Apparently my lack of knowledge about the NZ hunting scene didn't go down well as the next five or so minutes were spent on a very well rehearsed lecture on the right to hunt and the benefits thereof.
All and all, a very entertaining lunch break :)

* I'm not actually conceited enough to insist that everyone should know where New Zealand is (my best guess as to the location of, say, Kyrgyzstan would be "somewhere between Russia and India"). It was his confidence in his vague and inaccurate answer that I found entertaining.

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