Sunday, March 28, 2010

Step 3 - Open a Bank Account

Mum and Teenager
Mum and Teenager
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
I believe I mentioned that there is a bit of an evil Catch 22 here: You can't open a bank account until you have a place to live. You can't get a place to live until you have a local bank account. So we lied.

This is what good cruisers do when asked questions for which there is no correct -- and perhaps more importantly -- useful answer.

What about pirates? -- There really aren't any in the seas we'll be sailing through.
What about socialization? -- We will seek out other kid boats and spend all our time ensuring our children have others to play with.
What about drug runners? -- We've never seen any.
What about big storms? -- Never seen any of those either.

Heh. After nearly four years routinely lying to our loved ones, the New Zealand banking system stands little chance.We told them we lived at our hotel. Technically, I suppose this isn't a lie so much as a stretching of the truth tantamount to fitting a 280 pound Samoan mama into a size 4 lycra jumpsuit. And it did the trick.

Who is going to be hurt in any case? We immediately moved a bunch of U.S. cash into our account. Then we promptly spent it all. It seems like the bank is winning from all this churn… they are certainly charging us for it. Seems like the New Zealand economy benefits since spending is the Engine of Commerce, or some such economic clap trap. And while our finances are reeling, the fast movement of dollars to dollars converts into a rental home, furniture, and school uniforms which we can actually use. So it's all good.

I love sophistry.

What's great is that with a bank account, suddenly a whole world of To Do's is now open. We can rent property. We can buy groceries. We can … we can buy ANYTHING. The starved crew of Congers are now sitting at a banquet of bourgeois delights ready to indulge in the biggest feast of our lives. We want… we want…

We WANT. Oh my god do we want.

So far we have bought a whole lot of bread and cheese. It appears that what we really want is toast. It is not an exaggeration to say that we have consumed roughly a loaf of toast a day since our arrival. One day we had toast for breakfast, toasted tuna melts for lunch, and toasted cheese with tomato soup for dinner. We toast bagels and english muffins, crumpets, and white bread. We slice up sour dough, crumple croissants into hot cocoa, and sip tea with our scones. I can't help but think we're going carbo crazy.

The New Conger Nests
The New Conger Nests
Originally uploaded by toastfloats.
After toast, our biggest purchases have been personal care items. We got our hairs cut, picked up a few changes of clothing, and invested in some skin care products to protect us from the wildly insane U.V. down here. So far we have exercised restraint on furniture and other worldly goods, primarily because we have no place to put them.*

But just you wait, Hen-ree, Hig-ins. Just you wait.

BTW, they pronounce all those H's down here. Of all places to be teased about our accents, we had a matronly woman at the Auckland Botanical Gardens spend no small amount of effort and emotional energy trying to get us to say hhhhhirb, correctly. Hhhhhirb. Erb. Hrm.

Editor's Note: Hahaha! Okay, I love editing this article a few weeks later. We've now spent oodles on mattresses and bedding. After toast, our priority was to get a good night's sleep for the first time in four years.


Bethany said...

Well, after all it does have an "H" in it :) At least that's what my Brit husband tells me...

judith said...

The bank will probably gouge you just before you leave their country too. When my daughter left Oz after a 3 month stay she lost 1/2 of her last paycheck due to fees and exchange rate.

And if you really want to get some strange looks at a cricket game, do as she did and really show your US colors by yelling "Hey Batter Batter... Saawing". I don't know how the Kiwis will react, but the Aussies jumped right in with her.

Just a Minute said...

You have no idea of how my mouth watered while reading about eating bread in any form. They are truly bread-challenged in Mexico. Good luck to all of you!
Laura, S/V Just a Minute

Just Wedeminute said...

I just found your blog and I'm just a little jealous because when I was 18 I traveled around NZ for a month and it's been my dream to return to NZ and live there with my husband and children but I guess I will just have to live vicariously through your journey! I've enjoyed reading about your life in NZ, keep writing!