Another very interesting country…

sheep_new_zealandIt is very far away from anything other than Penguins  and ice-caps. It has 4 million human beings surrounded by 40 million sheep.  It has almost 100 Volcanoes, lots of mild intensity earthquakes (about 400 in a year, out of which about 25 are usually above 5.0 on the Richter scale) and is ruled by a lady who lives about 18,000 kilometres away (let us face it, given all this fire & brimstone, wouldn’t you too ?) And of late, it has decided that a new tax will be imposed on its citizens – nicknamed the ‘fart tax’, it is a tax that actually gets farmers to pay up every time a sheep or a cow belches. In short, this is one of the world’s most interesting countries.

I am of course referring to New Zealand.

The first Indian to get to New Zealand was a Bengali man who jumped ship in 1810 to marry a Maori woman (and whose progeny I would give an arm and a leg to see!). By 1896, Indians had overrun the place with all of 46 of them in residence, including Mr Phomen Singh, a sikh who became a seller of sweetmeats in the streets of Auckland. And they just kept coming – recent estimates suggest there are 100,000 of us who followed in Mr Singh’s footsteps; almost all of them in professions as benign as hawking sweets.

So, even if you do not want to do a ‘self-drive honeymoon’ or jump off a cliff for fun or watch India getting hammered by the last ten Kiwis playing cricket, I would suggest you go and check out the country. If not for anything else, at least to understand how the ‘fart tax’ works. Remember, the way the enviro-mafia is at it, soon you will need to pay up every time you…you get the picture. And New Zealand will probably be a good place to figure out how that can feel.

Segway across New Zealand, Turkey and soon all over the world

Ok, this is an interesting one. Kevin Hey and a bunch of other guys now offer tours that allow you to explore New Zealand’s cities on a Segway. You remember the Segway Personal Transporter? Those contraptions that allow you to stand on them and move about on wheels.

Looks like Segways are catching on in Tourism. I came across a video that show Beach Resorts in Turkey using them (see the video on top). A friend of mine in the travel business in Goa tells me that a couple of resorts there are thinking of getting a few here too.

On my recent visit to Dubai, I happened to glimpse a chap tearing across a boulevard near my hotel on a segway, a sight which rang all the right bells in me. I would certainly like to have one, although driving one around in any Indian city is asking for serious trouble. In Bangalore, I will most likely disappear down a man-hole never to be heard of again. I can think of at least 3 people who would like that.  :)