Its a lot of bull...

"Ah, I'm so happy they stopped by to see us!"
There's talk on the local news of a possible upcoming tropical cyclone. High above the town and relatively far from the ocean with the property situated in the hills, we have no concerns over flooding in this area. 

Winds on the other hand are another matter as well as the possibility of losing power.  We're not worrying about any of it at this point.  We'll keep our readers updated.  If at any point, we lose power and/or wifi signal, we be back with updates as soon as possible. 

Soon, two cleaners are coming to work together for an hour and a half.  With as tidy as we are, the equivalent of three total hours of cleaning is all we ever need. 

"Hurry, take the darned photo already!  We can't stand like this forever!" says the four bulls.
Sure, the cost for the two cleaners, Ra and Isabel, is somewhat of a luxury at NZ $60, US $39.14 compared to what we've paid in other countries, but its something we'd prefer to arrange when house cleaners aren't included in the  the rent.  Long ago in the US,  we paid almost twice this amount for one cleaner for three hours.  We aren't complaining.

Yesterday, we stopped at multiple markets including the Kiwi Butcher, Pak & Save, New World and Countdown (another regular grocery store) where we found everything on our list.

Pak & Save is similar to Costco or Sam's Club in the US without a required membership.  When I looked at our full "trundler" (aka grocery cart in the US or trolley in many other countries) as we approached the register, I'd expected our total bill to be NZ $196, US $300.

We always attempt to refer to items using the popularly used words.  In NZ a grocery cart is referred to as a "trundler."
When the total was slightly under NZ $153, US $100, , I was shocked, causing me to look in the cart wondering if something hadn't been charged.  In reviewing the receipt, I confirmed the total.  

With four packs of toilet paper and paper towels and, two boxes of tissue at NZ $2, US $1.30 each, locally grown organic produce priced at half as much as in the regular market, it's no wonder our bill was reasonable. 

Once at home I was busy putting everything away for over an hour with all the veggies to wash before putting them in the fridge. As expected I found numerous insects, making me feel at ease that no pesticides had been used on the "locally grown produce." 

He poses coyly for the camera.
In all, we spent NZ $342, US $223, but that included a trip to the local health food store spending NZ $75, US $49 for a variety of specialty items that are always more costly.  Later, we realized we could have purchased many of the same or similar items at the Pak & Save at considerably lower prices. 

Next time we shop, we'll begin the shopping at the Pak & Save, leaving any items we can't find for the "regular" market.  We expect to easily be able to continue to keep the total under NZ $306, US $200 buying all grass fed meat, free range chickens and organic produce. 

The above totals include two cooked free range organic chickens, and a cooked free range pork loin roast we'll continue to purchase each week to cover a few dinner with the addition of a variety of homemade side dishes.  The amazing eggs from the weekly farmers marker will be an added cost at NZ $24, US $16 which we'll happily add to the total.

Neil explained that sheep seem less interested in humans than alpacas.  Although, these two couldn't get to the fence fast enough to see us.
In Fiji, we may have spent approximately 25% less for groceries but weren't able to find many items readily available in NZ.  It proved to us how easily we're able to adapt without many items when other options aren't available.  When items are available we opt on the side of enhancing our dining experience by willingly paying the added costs. 

While in the Pak & Save, a lovely retiree June, had asked Tom to reach a six pack of bottled beer from a high shelf.  A lengthy conversation ensued resulting in her inviting us to visit for tea and to tour her historic home located in the downtown area. 

We exchanged business cards planning to visit her and husband Simon once the bad weather passes.  In our old lives, I can't recall ever making new friends while shopping at the market. 

"Don't go," he says as we begin to walk away.
The warmth and friendliness of the New Zealand people further confirms our perception that most people throughout the world are kind and welcoming to foreigners who visit their homeland.

Today's photos of bulls are our new local animal friends who welcome us by approaching the fence each time we walk down the road which has been almost everyday.  That is, if one can make friends with cows and bulls based on their response to us, we have no doubt it's entirely possible.

No doubt, we're enjoying our bull friends and other local friends we meet along the way, human and otherwise.
Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2015:

  It hard to believe it was one year ago that we took this video of the albatross we followed while spending four months in Kauai.  Click here for photos.


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