As you travel it is always interesting to see how things are different. I frequently struck with the thought that what I am observing would never happen in the States. Our liability laws and court system are so embedded into our daily life that we miss opportunities and have misplaced the importance of personal responsibility.
A couple of examples to demonstrate.
At Wai-o-Tiapo, there are colorful hot pools. One is called Champaign Pool where the water is the color of Champaign and bubbles (sulfur dioxide) looking like a glass of Champaign. There are warning signs that caution you that the water is hot (boiling) and then there is a little six-inch high fence around it to give you guidance as to where it is safe to be. IN the states, there would be warning signs, cameras, Plexiglas screens 10 feet tall, all warning people and keeping them from the water (if you were even allowed that close to the site).
There is a cooking style here called stone grilling. You have a personal slab of volcanic stone, heated to 400 degrees and on top of the slab; you have your cut of meat(s) (lamb, chicken, beef, venison, prawns, etc.) that you cook. If you are not careful, it is easy to get burned. What restaurant in the States would you be able to do that (and be able to get insurance coverage?). It is great food and a fun experience with friends.
The Speight’s Brewery in Dunedin is undergoing a NZ$50 million dollar renovation (they started by investing NZ$25 million, have reached NZ$35 million and expect it to go to 50). The brewery in Christchurch was damaged beyond repair in the earthquake several years ago and it was decided to move the brewery to Dunedin. The local plant will go from 6 brews a day to 26 brews a day. Making everything from Guinness to Speight’s Gold Medal. So, the facility is under major renovation. They are also reinforcing the building to make it more earthquake proof. While the renovations are going on the brewery tours continue. So you are walking in and around construction areas. In the States, the tours would be cancelled until the construction is complete.
Even more amazing is that you get to walk right among the brewers and the brew tanks. You could stick your hand out and run it through skids of wheat, hops, sugar, etc. You can look in the mash tanks and see the process. I remember a tour of a beef plant years ago and you walked through glass hallways above the plant floor never getting closer than 50 feet to the actual process. Here, you are standing next to the process.