Beth Emet

Beth Emet

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Elaine's Most Recent Tidbits from New Zealand

Auckland is multicultural. They have McDonalds, Burger King no Wendy's. But an alternative around the corner is Subway and KFC. Then there are coffee shops on every corner and three in the middle of the block. I thought this was a tea country but no, coffee seems to be the number one choice. Dave's Coffee, Mr Coffee Guy and Starbucks  but that is not the favorite of Kiwis. Fancy coffees are a big thing. Decorated tops for cappuccino with or without chocolate sprinkles. Yum!

Chinese restaurants here are a long way from 2 from column A and 3 from column B.(for those who are 60 years old and remember those Chinese restaurants) Everything is very authentic and presented in an artful manor. The very pleasant waitress always coming back to make sure the food is to our liking. How nice! Remember there is no tipping. Just out of the goodness of their hearts. How refreshing!

I had to go to McDonalds to check it out. No happy meals and a bargain meal was a drink, fries, hamburger only $19.00. Not sure they are using the new oil but with so much salt who would know. But  it is served with a smile. Many good choices at the food court-- pita sandwiches, sushi, Italian and ice cream. But I had to have a taste of home. Crazy. I never eat it at home.

 I noticed people running here and there like at home. However, the dress is very black very little color. Now it could have been support for the All Blacks rugby team. We won!!!! Yea! Peter and I are taking credit for the win and bringing the Kiwis good luck. Why not? We are the foreigners? We enjoyed getting to learn the game. These people are just as passionate for rugby as Chicagoans are about Cubs and White Sox, Bulls and Da Bears.

Skirts are very short with black tights or leggings. With all the hills the women don't have pretty legs. However, they must be strong. I wish they would smile more.

Auckland is very spread out. In the central city many highrises. In the suburbs everyone wants a house. Not much land around them but very interesting architecture. Wherever you are there is water. Inlets and boats everywhere. Very pretty. Housing is very expensive 1 and 2 million is not out of the question. Apartments are also very high as well. Like in any large city of the world.

These people are so polite. I took a cab back to the synagogue for Yizkor on Yom Kippur. I had a canvas bag with me. When we got to the synagogue he asked me if I wanted him to take the bag up to the front door. It was light so I said I could handle it. Very nice. Only in NZ. Can you imagine any cabbie in Chicago or NYC doing that? I would never see my bag again.

We went to a student production of a play one of the congregants wrote. She is a well-known playwright. She is from Santa Barbara, Ca. Her grandfather was a very famous movie director.  He directed Casablanca. She only discovered that she was Jewish very late in life. She is desperate to reclaim her Judaism. She writes historical plays. She likes to write about gory topics. The one we saw was about 2 school girls who were gay and wanted to be together so they killed one of the mothers in a park. It is based on a real incident that happened many years ago in Christchurch. .The play was very interesting. Glad  are we went. Before the show we had to stay in an anteroom. Very few chairs. One young man asked Peter if he would like his chair to sit. Wow. Now that was nice. Peter wasn't even pregnant. In some countries on a bus they get up if you are pregnant or old. I guess he thought Peter was old.

Getting back to food. Peter likes weird gamey food. On the menu was Kangaroo. Yes he ordered it. After the plate was empty I told him he has to stay in his seat and not jump around. He was good. After my taste I felt my stomach jump a few times. I did taste it and can say I will not eat it again.

So I have to eat my words. Yes I had to buy a chicken to make chicken soup. Everyone around me is sick and coughing in the stores and synagogue. It was a matter of time that I would get sick. Now was the trip to the Countdown (Supermarket) to get the chicken. Peter went for the vegetables and I went for the chicken. I said to myself I will pay whatever because I need to get better and chicken soup is what I need. The chicken choices were  size 12,14,16. Quite frankly they all looked the same, scrawny no meat on the bone chickens. No giblets and no schmaltz. Where did they go? Remember I only have one soup pot I took from the synagogue. Not very big. The chicken went in then and turned on the stove to boil, skimmed the water and put in the veg. Now the bullions cubes I brought from Chicago. Thank goodness the last minute I said I should take some with me. They made the soup much better. Poor chicken only skin and bones no meat. Not even one cup of meat for chicken salad. However I did have to make 5 pots of soup because this cold is not going away. I have so many cooked veggies. I decided to make chicken pot pie. Some fresh veggies and bits of chicken added to make it taste good.

The supermarket is normally opened 24 hrs but on this morning it was closed. They were reorganizing the store. He had to go back again for cough drops and chicken and veggies. The cough drops cause diarrhea. Did you ever hear of such a thing. I want the old fashion Smith Brothers cough drops or Vicks. Pharmacy opens now at 9 AM so he will have to go back. They know him by now. Poor guy and great husband.

Rosh Hashanah was interesting. I walked into the sanctuary and a Chinese gentleman welcomed me with “Israel is the best country.” Someone asked his name. He yelled out “Jerusalem’. Not sure what that was about. By the way he did not come back for Yom Kippur. I guess he had enough and got mixed up with the Hebrew. Peter was great. Music was heartfelt. They have no cantor and they worked hard and that counts a lot. Out of necessity this is a real do it yourself place .

For Yom Kippur They had the cello player from the NZ orchestra play Kol Nidre. Now that was very moving and great. I missed Beth Emet. Maybe next year.

Let's talk about toilets. You may have seen the new trend of toilets in the States. Instead of a handle to push down there are two buttons on top of the tank. One for a big flush and a smaller one for a small flush. It is to save on water. Not a bad idea. However when the buttons are the same size which one is for big and which one for little? One time I just pressed both and held my breath for it not to overflow. No problem. All went down fine.

Did I tell you about the frozen peas I bought for the pot pie? Well, I was about to pour them into the pot when I smelled mint. Where did the mint come from? Yes I bought minted peas. Did you ever? Not in my pie. So we had no peas only corn and cooked veggies from the many pots of soup I made. I did put in some fresh veggies. It was delicious.

What a new world. We were about to sit down to watch Bears game on Monday night football. It was preempted by soccer. Seth had just Skyped us to see the kids and said he could put the screen so we could watch the game. We decided just monitor the game on the computer. Bears won! Now can we take credit for that? Maybe. Because we were interested and hoping for a win.

Another pot of soup and another stop at the supermarket. Peter is off again with list in hand. Soon more soup and veggies and chicken. We are overflowing with cooked veg. We have nothing to put the soup or veg in. Soon it will be in our shoes. We put the veg. in two plastic bags. That was a mistake. Who knew they send rejects to NZ. So the seams opened and the residual soup ran all over the refrigerator. We were not happy campers.

The weather is supposed to be spring. Rain almost every day. Slightly warm on day cold the next. No wonder everyone is sick! When you check the weather online it refers to one two or three layer day. Sometime they say one layer rain one layer gale force wind. Everyone carries an umbrella. You never know. The only good thing is many days there are wonderful vivid rainbows. Just a little touch that God is still with us.

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