A weekly ode to the joys of moaning about holiday, by Tim Roxborogh.
New Zealand and "nuclear apocalypse" aren't traditional bedfellows when it comes to word-association games. Nor is it what springs to mind when you think about driving around this beautiful country because it is just that: beautiful. We know it, most of the world knows it and there's a fair chunk of our collective national self-esteem tied up in it. It is why I will forever find it jarring when doing a road trip in Aotearoa and I find myself driving next to a recently felled section of commercial forest.
Those desolate wastelands don't just look kinda bad in the time it takes for the young trees to take hold, they look straight out of those television news shots of the Indonesian rainforest in the horror years that the monsoon doesn't arrive and the massive fires burn wildly out of control. Orangutans are misplaced, haze spreads into the airspace neighbouring countries and the environmental cost
So yes, I find it jarring, equally so for the fact I never read nor hear of anybody else complaining about it. And it's not just the commercial forests because if there's a good reason why any farmland that borders a main road needs to be barren and devoid of trees, then I'm all ears.
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Part of the reason this issue is such an apparent "non-issue" is possibly because we're so wrapped up in continual self-back-patting over our undoubted natural beauty that we neglect to mention there's a way too high percentage of butt-ugly highway in this country. Surely that's not the look nor vibe we want to be giving tourists.
Granted, the forests being felled both rotate and regenerate and no one doubts they're a valuable and even sustainable part of our economy. But why not decree that a band of at least 25m of forest next to our highways be replanted with native tress? This will be good for the environment, good for tourism and good for the psyche of tree-deprived Kiwis. Make it so, Jacinda!
When you don't understand what Dunkin' Donuts means
Last week at Auckland Airport I realised I've had the name of Dunkin' Donuts wrong my entire life. Not that I was mispronouncing it, but that I was misunderstanding what the name was all about.
I don't know why it suddenly dawned on me, aged 37, as I walked past the Dunkin' Donuts stand, having just checked in and dropped my bags off but like a bolt of lightning I was hit with knowledge I must now share: it's not "Dunkin' Donuts" as in "Gary Donuts", "Malcolm Donuts" or perhaps more relevantly, "Duncan Donuts", it's "Dunkin' Donuts" as in "Dunking Your Donuts In A Beverage, Donuts".
Get out of town! Who knew?
Well, probably every single person reading this column but if, on the off-chance you've learned a little something from this week's Travel Bugs, you are very, very welcome. "Thank you" mail will be gratefully received.
Tim Roxborogh hosts Newstalk ZB's Weekend Collective and blogs at RoxboroghReport.com.