Road Trip: New Zealand


Time to procure a car.  Kiwis are known for their hospitality.  In fact, when one B&B owner said her house was booked up the days I wanted to stay there, her words accented by the Queen's English were “but if you catch yourself in a bind, I'll be out of town that weekend and you can use my house.”  So you might even be able to bum a car off a Kiwi as easily as a cigarette.  Their insurance will most likely give you some coverage.  One B&B owner threw me the keys to her spare car minutes after I set my bags down.  Her rental- a Honda Civic- was old, but clean, and unfortunately an automatic.  Damn!  I was set on shifting with my stranger hand!  She said her insurance company allowed visitors to take out the Civic, but they wouldn't cover their Porsche or even their Subaru, both considered sports cars.

New Zealand is serious about their coffee and even most roadside gas stations have espresso machines and employees who double as baristas.  Ordering probably won't be what you expect.  The most popular coffee options are flat white (pretty much a latte, but a little stronger), short black (espresso), and long black (similar to an Americano).

Renting a car can be pricy.  The extra insurance was about as much per day as the rental fee but you are probably not covered by your own car insurance when traveling overseas.  The New Zealand Automobile Association (AA; not to be confused with AA in the states…) extends some services to visiting AAA members but car insurance isn't one of them.  Some credit cards will provide international coverage but unless you're coveting a Black Amex or other baller credit card in your wallet (I sure as hell am not), your regular person Mastercard probably won't cover the rental if your car base jumps off one of the mountainside cliffs.

US car manufacturers, listen up!  We need more daily driver turbo diesel hatchback car options in the states than just the VW Golf- something like the Seat Leon, Holden Cruze, or one of the Peugeot, Fiat, Citroens; even a TDCi powered Ford.  I requested this type of rental.  Instead, it's a “free upgrade” to a Ford Focus 2.0L petrol automatic, more like a downgrade from my expectations.

Rental Ford Focus
Should I be concerned that my license plate spells out Friday, the 13th?

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