I recently read an article on what tourists don't like about New Zealand. If nothing else, it confirmed that there's nowt queerer than folk.
For example, an Australian visitor complained about a beach in Northland because "the waves were far too big and the sand was too loose". The waves complaint suggests no knowledge of nature – on a different day the complaint might have been that the waves were too small – and the sand one just beggars belief.
Does the complainant hope that, because of his/her gripe, Northland authorities will now have their sand tightened?
Of course it set me to thinking about my own views on travelling around New Zealand but be prepared for some tolerance re sand looseness. I tend to accept what I get with sand. I even accept gravel when it's a gravel beach.
And I hope you don't mind if I also share at least one thing I like about travelling around this country of ours.
The first gripe is the number of drivers who indicate a right turn when they are going straight through a roundabout. How do we convince them that no indication is required except a quick left signal just before exit point?
The second gripe is also about driving. It is about the number of people who don't use their indicators at all. It could be because they are too tired or it could be because they regard indicators as optional extras.
A related issue is the planting of shrubbery on roundabouts. There's no denying the beautifying effect of some colourful floral ground cover but when the plants are close to a metre tall they obscure vision of the indicators on approaching cars.
I suppose the defence is that many drivers won't be using them anyway and, if they are, they could be using them incorrectly.
• Premium - Wyn Drabble: It's not easy being green
• Premium - Wyn Drabble: Retail encounter leaves me deflated
• Premium - Wyn Drabble: I don't mind a bit of loose sand
• Wyn Drabble: Blokey winter desires
Also annoying are the people who don't plug their caravan or trailer into the car's electrics so there are no indicators for following traffic (I promise to make this the last indicator gripe).
Last week I signalled a motorist to pull over so I could share something important with him. When he indicated a right turn in his SUV, his trailer indicated a left turn and vice versa. I guess that's what they mean by "having your wires crossed".
My other motoring gripe is the outrageous price of petrol in our country. Imagine spending a small fortune on filling up, then driving to a beach and finding out when you got there that the sand was too loose!
I have shared this next incident with you before but it's timely to repeat it.
A few summers ago, Mrs D and I were driving in the USA. We commented that the roadside billboards advertised petrol prices much the same as home. What we hadn't realised was that their prices were per gallon rather than per litre.
The first time I had to fill up our medium saloon car was in Chattanooga. I also bought some confectionery and a drink and when I put those items on the counter the cashier said, "That'll be $17.30 please."
My response was immediate. "No, I got petrol as well." She gave me that look you give aliens. $17.30 was the total cost – including petrol.
Let's finish with my positive. When I head off on a lengthy drive, one of the first things I look for is coffee and, although you can find plenty of examples of poorly made coffee, on the whole our coffee is as good as that anywhere in the world.
Of the countries I have visited, only Australia comes close, though I do need to offset that with a gripe. On some of their beaches the sand can be a bit tight.