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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

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Readers Blog: The Bike Writer

Tidbits from New Zealand

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NEW ZEALAND TIDBITS - People in New Zealand are called Kiwis and most Kiwis don't wear shoes. To the mall, school, grocery shopping; it's kind of crazy. According to David, a man I met in Hamilton, he said, "I was born this way - why mess with it.'

 

- Kiwis drive on the wrong side of the road and the steering wheel is on the opposite side of the car. It's a challenging change, especially in the roundabouts. The truckers are quick on the horn to keep me on my toes.

 

- The newspapers here are huge; almost 18-inches wide and FULL of color photos, in stories and advertisement. The New Zealand Herald and Waikato Times publish daily and cost $1.90. The Matamata Chronicle is a free paper with 31 pages in the first section.

 

- Sat with Walter and Roger at breakfast Tuesday morning at the Oxford Cafe in Tirau. The pair had been traveling the entire night, returning from a funeral on the south island. Their friend was 89 and they had all been in the service together. Walter summed it up simply saying, "Another mate has fallen off the perch."

 

- I've become acutely aware I've reached a new stage in my transient status; I'm not throwing anything away. My bicycle tire with a two-inch gash is still strapped to the back of my bike. As is my pump, which also failed. I replaced that too, yet haven't pitched the old one. I convince myself that maybe I'll need these things for spare parts or maybe if I'm on the Price Is Right and Bob Barker shouts, "I'm looking for someone with a ratty old bike tire with a two-inch gash" I'd scramble and dig to the bottom of my garbage-bag purse. Holding it high above my head like a first-place trophy Barker would point and say, "YOU are the next contestant on the Price is Right!"

 

Or maybe the fumes from the stench of day four in this same cruddy shirt are getting to me and I need to find a laundry and shower.

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