There can't be that many Maori running around in Paris. It just seems highly unlikely. Thus it was amusing when we signed up to do a City Segways tour (don't knock it until you try it) and met our tour guide. Moko. From Hamilton.
I've actually become a little creepy where New Zealand stuff is concerned. Every time I see something that is from or relates to New Zealand I get all "extreme over-exitcited traveller", and start taking photos.
So when I was introduced to Moko, I could feel Nathan ready with his hand on the back of my shirt ready to pull me back. I think he was worried I would throw myself at the guy and start singing "God defend New Zealand". (I didn't.)
Moko had been in Paris for three years and was surprised that he still had the New Zealand accent, but, to be honest, we could have heard that Kiwi twang from the back of the ridiculously long Orsay Museum line.
Having a New Zealander guide us through sights like the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Luxor Obelisk made the tour that much more fun, and we also got to compare Kiwi-based notes on Paris.
One thing we had noticed were a number of people wearing All Black shirts, and Moko backed that up. "Yeah, and you get excited and go up to them and you're like 'Eh! New Zealand!', then they look at you and say 'Je parle français désolé', and you're like 'oh'."
The Olympics have definitely brought out the excessive Kiwi in me. Having had a frustrating time not being able to see the New Zealanders in action at the Games - we don't seem to be such a priority for the Icelandic and French broadcasters - we managed to see Valerie Adams' silver the other night, and I was a tad more emotional than I would expected. (Sob.)
As I said, I have become obsessed with finding Kiwi pieces overseas, no matter just how random they are.
At Disneyland in California, the only thing that got me through that It's a Small World song was waiting for the New Zealand exhibition, which curiously had a doll that looked like the cousin of Manu from Playschool.
In Santa Cruz, Nathan and I stopped at this tiny, run-down Falafel Hut for lunch. We're sitting there looking around at the "decorations" inside, and I looked at this wall of beer bottles, and there, at the centre, was a Steinlager bottle.
Walking past New York New York on The Strip in Las Vegas, we came across a star on the ground referring to Mary and the Maori Hi Five. Don't know who they were, but still took the photo.
In Denver, Colorado, where we stayed with Nathan's aunt and uncle for a week, everyone kept trying to get me to take photos of the family's items left over from when they lived in New Zealand. That's cheating, people.
In San Francisco, a New Zealand $5 note was among the foreign currency that had been taped up in the store. That made me miss home but also made me think "okay, clearly I'm cheap". I would never contribute a $5 note. That's like a sub of the day, or half a sandwich at Wishbone ...
What are the best pieces of New Zealand that other people have come across while travelling? Does anyone else suffer from hyper-patriotism when they leave the country?
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