“I don’t want to go on a rant here”

Why do Americans complain about gas prices?  Everywhere we’ve been so far, gas has been far more expensive than in the US.  For example, here in New Zealand, gas is NZ$1.749 per liter, or approximately US$5.42 per gallon. Waaahh, my gas prices went up 33% in one year, I can no longer afford the “necessities” like an American SUV or a European car, high-speed internet, a cell phone with tons of minutes and a data plan, designer clothes, an expensive house (that is no longer expensive), a plasma TV, an iPod, and everything my neighbor has.  Try living in New Zealand for a little bit where bare essentials cost multiples more than they do in the US, and mind you New Zealand is a farming country.  Eggs are US$2.50 a dozen, Milk is US$4.60 a gallon, liquor/beer/wine is 100% more expensive than in the US (from excise taxes I assume, domestic stuff is just as expensive), Boneless/skinless chicken breast is US$8 a pound.  Shoes are twice the price as in the US.  Maybe this is because the dollar is weak or because New Zealand is an island, but I’ve talked to New Zealanders who have complained to me about their high prices.  “We’ll all go broke,” said one Kiwi. 

Why are eggs so expensive?  So we were in the library in Auckland and I picked up a magazine called “Organic NZ”. It is a periodical dedicated to the organic farmer in New Zealand.  There was an article in there that talked about how chicken batteries are essentially banned in New Zealand.  A chicken battery is where Napoleon Dynamite worked, where chickens are in a warehouse in tiny little cages (probably all over the US, not just Idaho).  If eggs are produced from chicken batteries they have to have a label on the egg carton that says “Caged Eggs”.  These eggs are hard to find, but are cheaper.  I would assume that this has to affect the price of chicken meat (chicken batteries can have an estimated 10,000-20,000 chickens per acre of warehouse stacked 5 high 1 foot apart in aisles 7 feet apart).  There are apparently a ton of government restrictions here that seem to raise prices on many things, not necessarily just because it’s an island.  We were watching one of the two TV stations we had in Oamaru on the South Island.  The show was like Animal Planet’s “Animal Precinct” but for farm animals.  The “detective” went out to a pig farm and warned the owner that his pig pen was “too muddy” and didn’t have enough clean water and shelter.  Just goes to show you what lengths New Zealand goes to protect its animal’s rights and prevent cruelty.

By the way, the best invention since [insert favorite lame invention, a good example would be sliced bread] is flavored tuna.  I used to hawk this stuff in college.  It was so cheap.  But I’d have to add mustard like crazy to it to make it taste good (not mayonnaise as I was actually trying to stay fit in college).  Anyway, in New Zealand, they have a ton of flavored tuna like “Mexican Salsa” and “Spicy Thai Pepper.”  It’s like candy.  They come in these cute little 100 gram containers for like NZ$1 each.  They don’t need to be refrigerated, nor do you need a can opener. Yum yum.  Jill for some crazy reason hates tuna and all fish for that matter.  She won’t let me in the same room as her when I eat it.  She said she had a bad experience with fish, just as with yogurt when her brother allegedly put a bagel lathered up with yogurt in his mouth and “made it talk” and the yogurt went all over the place.  Apparently she was unable to eat yogurt again for 12 years.  So maybe the tuna trauma will end soon.

Am I missing something?  Compared to South America (especially Rio), New Zealanders seem to be way more courteous.  I swear, anytime you’d look the other way while waiting in line in South America, someone would jump right in front of you.  In New Zealand, a Kiwi will approach you and ask, “Is this the end of the queue?  Cheers mate!”

 “What the hell does rant mean?”

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