Sunday, August 10, 2008

Big, little.

I wish I could say that the reason our blog has been so quiet is because we have been busy exploring and having adventures. We have in fact been busy, we have been exploring and we have all had some adventures, but these are not blog worthy events as all we have been doing lately is moving into our new house, biking to work, working a lot and sleeping. In a few weeks things will settle down and we will slip back into our lives of leisure and pleasure here in New Zealand. We have some fun plans - a train ride south to visit our good friend RL who recently moved all the way across the planet to join us in NZ (albeit he is still a 12 hour train ride from Auckland), and a Great Walk (still voting on which one, suggestions?).

But let us now talk about things Big and little. Let's start by looking at a map:

So as to not embarrass all of you geography slobs in the US, let's orient ourselves: New Zealand, in orange, is top, center and the US, in green, is middle, left (geez, Canada's enormous, eh?). Mali, in green, is middle, right, but that really has nothing to do with this.

So America is a big country, coming in at almost 4 million square miles (3,794,083). The land area of New Zealand is much smaller at just over 100,000 square miles (103,733). Look at the map again. See how small NZ is? It looks like it's about the size of Florida and Maine combined. Actually that was a lucky guess on my part as the total square miles of Florida and Maine combined equal 101,073 square miles. Here is a neat factoid: The coastline of New Zealand is almost double the coastline of the continental US. The NZ coastline is 9,824 miles, and the coastline for the lower 48 is only 5,089 miles! Supposedly this is possible because of all the harbours, islands, fjords, firths, nooks and crannies that make up the coast, but I think some investigating is in order. Sea kayaking, anyone?

Let's continue our Big, little comparison on a smaller, more personal scale. In preparation to move overseas, and knowing we were sending a big shipment over, I stocked up on some necessities at Costco.

Here we have some deodorant. The deodorant on the left is from the US and weighs in at 92 grams. I should note this is an "average" American-sized deodorant, but is not super-Costco sized. The deodorant on the right is from NZ, is typical of the size of deodorant found here, and weighs 50 grams. Note the baseless statement on the American product "25% higher performing odor protection."

Here is some Colgate toothpaste. The top tube, weighing 110 grams is from New Zealand. The bottom tube may not appear much larger than the top tube, but is in fact double the size at 221 grams. Surprising to note that the Shrek advertising gimmick is on the NZ tube (It's P's tube). Having used both sizes I can say that the US tube is difficult to use one handed, as it really requires two hands to squeeze the toothpaste out of the tube (B doesn't have this problem and likes his tubes big).

Shampoo. I'm fairly certain that y'all can figure out which one came from Costco. What can I say - I'm a Pantene girl. And look how long it has lasted me! (Aside: I would like to officially declare that the Pantene bought here is NOT the same as the Pantene bought at home, and is in fact inferior. Alas.) Granted, 1.18 liters is a lot of shampoo, but it cost the same as the 350ml bottle I bought here in NZ. Which brings me to my final Big, little comparison: the soda.

Ah, the Big Gulp, and it's buddy the Double Gulp. Coming in a 44 and 64 fluid ounces, respectively, I grew up knowing these as "bladder busters." Sometimes you just need a lot of soda.

Here are some hastily taken photos of Coca-Cola in a local gas station. For some reason taking these pictures made me nervous. Anyway, the bottle on the upper shelf is 600ml (equal to about 2.5 cups in the US, or "small"). The bottom bottle is 1.5 liters (that's 52 fl oz - midway between the super big and double Gulps) and will cost you NZ$2.99 (~US$2.35).

Here is the really interesting part: the 600ml bottle is NZ$3.20!

So for 21 cents you get 900ml less! This is a common theme with soda here - less is more. It's as if people think that 1.5 liters of soda is more than one person could handle at a time! too much soda- better to get the small one! Somehow I don't think this will be catching on at 7-11.

Coming up next... a trip to the grocery store (oh the chaos!) in search of Mexican food!