Seems to me when you visit a place, the more money you spend, the further away you place yourself from the folks who live there.
That means it is time to take the bus to your next destination.
When I think of taking the bus, I am reminded of pre-Christmas childhood travel trips I took from NJ to New York City with my mother Dottie M. to go holiday gift shopping at Macy's. That usually meant having to wear a stupid dress, white gloves and Sunday hat while experiencing a crushing ride in a stinky mobile cannister filled with rude people.
New Zealand has a national bus system called InterCity. It is very slick. You purchase a deal called a Flexi-pass, a set number of hours you use to fly down the left-hand-side of New Zealand's roads in a motorcoach. Yes, that's right, it is not a bus, but a motorcoach. As the vehicle's name suggests, your ride is spotlessly clean and it makes scheduled stops for tea-time along the way. One lump or two?
What I like best are the bus drivers on the system. They switch off every four hours or so. The first one we experienced was named Stan. He was a short, wiry, very strong fellow who wore knee socks with his Bermuda shorts, and could pick up my suitcase (affectionately known as "The Dead Body Bag") with one hand tied behind his back. And Stan gave us a nature tour as we motored along ("If you look to your left, you will notice a myriad of trees that were planted during the Great Depression.")
I have to say my favorite bus driver so far has been Paul. He reminded me of Monty Python's John Cleese imitating a New Zealand motor coach driver, informative about the scenery in a refined presentation, yet at times, slightly indignant. ("Now, I want a moment of silence on this bus to remember all those who died keeping China British.")
The adventure continues...
PHOTO: UK Mirror The Best Overloaded Transport Pictures