New Zealanders are the New Canadians
PSA: Canadians now share the throne of Friendliness with New Zealanders
You know the stereotypes: New Yorker’s are rude, the French will only speak to you in French, and all Texans walk around with two six shooters tucked into their boots. I’m here to add one more to the list: All Canadians AND all New Zealanders are the best folk you could meet out on the road (or anywhere really). I preface my sincerely held opinions (facts) with these few but edifying examples.
Colin and Sharon:
From outside appearance, you’d find yourself at a gaze with two, very nice, grandparent-like individuals who like to wear socks with sandals and cause no fuss. But don’t let appearances fool you… Not only did these two spritely individuals (age 69 for Sharon and 79 for Colin) drink us under the table (a feat for any person), they proceeded to give us the hook-up with every single shop owner in a 5 block radius.
Need to find the best price on motorbikes? “Oh ya, call Mr. Hung, we just had dinner with him and his wife last night!” - Colin . Two days later, we had bikes, at a great price, with a shop guarantee, and the WhatsApp of the owner should we need any help out on the road. Flamingo Motorbikes
Need to know where the best, cheapest Pho in central Hanoi is? “Oh, it’s just lovely, we’ve been coming here for the last decade, talk to Mr. Pham the owner.” - Sharon. Sure enough, we’ve been back to My Pho no less than 10 times, because why go anywhere else!? It’s cheap, tasty, and every-time the owner sees us we get Colin and Sharon level hospitality.
This list of “hook-up’d-ness” goes on to include: hotels, business cards, local rice wine, Vodka and of course, the offer to stay with them and ride their boat when we get down to New Zealand (which we certainly intend to do).
Not impressed yet!? Level 2 Canadian-like friendliness from Jack and Dave.
Now, it is to be expected that dirt bikes, of any age, will need some maintenance here and there. (“especially when you take them around all of South East Asia you idiots!?’ - My inner voice). Know absolutely f*%k-all about motorcycles (like us)?? No worry, Jack and Dave are there for you. Atop regaling you with stories from the road and how amazing your journey is about to be, they’ll inspect your bike with the vigor of a mechanically-inclined father. Inspection complete, they will then insist that the shop manager properly gaps the valves, swaps in new break-pads, and replaces your rear tire, all for no cost. Amazing.
But again, these are Kiwi’s we’re talking about here…Did you really think their kindness was done???
Dave then decided to GIVE us the USB phone chargers off his own bike AND, you guessed it, offer to let us ride his own bikes (a collection of 10) once we get down to Middle Earth.
Other advice offered: How to ride your bike through mud, where to buy 2-way radios for your helmet, and how to shut-off these two way radios when your mate is tired about hearing your existential crisis on a 300Km trip.
In summation, thanks to my many travels, I have a large sample set of people I’ve met while traveling. Of all these, Canadians and Kiwis stand far and above the rest of us when it comes friendliness and kindness.
TL;DR - If you hear a New Zealand accent, go talk to those people; it will do nothing but enrich your life.