Burger Murder and a Badass Bike

Aside from driving and eating, there were a few activities that highlight my time in the land (down)^2 under. But first, a bit on the the burgers. After hearing about the burgers in New Zealand for years, in addition to knowing the quality (and price!) of the beef at my Whole Foods, I was quite excited to try them. Sat at lunch, the waitress comes to our table, and giddy with
excitement, I give my order. To my surprise, she doesn't wait on how I want the meat cooked (medium). Not distraught yet, I casually mention this to the group, which comprises of two Kiwis and one Brit, with as much a nonchalant air as possible.

Me: "She didn't ask me how I wanted my burger. "

G: "Well, America is the first place that I was asked how I want my eggs done. I've never been asked before; they just show up. "

Clearly this was not the sympathetic audience that I was seeking. While there is tolerance on changes or mistakes, a deviation too far out of my comfort zone is a recipe for disappointment. So instead, I reside in trusting, as I would in NYC, that the chef would choose the appropriate temperature. That is, until my burger comes back well-done. Womp. Womp. Womp. Now what?

G: "Oh, they always cook them well done here."

Whaaaaaaaaat? One of the best places for beef on the planet, and they destroy the meat by turning it into shoe leather? What gives?

G: "Yea, it's more about the toppings. How much stuff can you pile onto the burger."

Oh, and he was right. Tomato, beet, egg, onion, lettuce, cheese, pineapple, bacon, relish, peanut sauce, ketchup, mustard, onion rings, avocado: just keep piling! Apparently, this mortifying method is used on pizzas and omelets as well, but none as offensive as the burger murder. Eventually, I found out from a new friend one reason meat is cooked through is because of the increase in surface area of ground meat, it is quite susceptible to bacteria and not cooking through leaves room for the possibility of getting ill. Well, there's that. No more NZ burgers for me, though I now have inspiration for a new 30 before 30 goal.

After that inordinately long diatribe on food, I find it hard to transition to the things I actually did in NZ. Ces't la vie. The other awesome activity was the 3-wheel motorcycle ride. Oh yea, you read that correctly. Mr. and Mrs. E (thank you!) bought the four of us children a motorcycle ride around the city of Napier. When the driver rolled up to the house for our tour, the motorcycle did not purr. The engine on this beast roared. I was going to like this.

The ride starts innocently enough: Mr. Badass let us get in his sidekick-like backseats, while he hops in the motorcycle front of the carriage.  He takes a turn to the road left of the house and carefully maneuvers the tight corners downhill. I have driven with all windows down before, but never in a drop top and also never on a motorcycle. Let's just say that my hair was a-flowing on this ride.

Slow and steady down the winding hill, we finally reach a small straightaway right next to he beach. Vrrr-vrrrrr-vrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooommm. And just like that, the bike is about to take flight. Needless to say, in the briefing before climbing in the backseat, Mr. B did not mention the little tidbit about breaking the barrier of sound. Whether or not this is true, it felt like a few speed limits were broken during this one-hour tour. After driving us to the top of the peak to drink in the view, we zipped through the art-deco era town center of Napier before returning to waterfront views.

The coast of Napier boasts a quite active shipping/cargo center. The original port is now more a port for fishing rather than shipping, with many of the warehouses reconfigured into condomium apartments or restaurant/bars and the new port taking up a more generous space south of the old port. Even though Napier does not face west over the water, the sun shines down on the water at sunset, creating a pretty cool ambience in this part of town in the evening. After the waterfront fishing port, we hit the highway for more zoooming along the water. Epic.

Winding back up the hills to drop us off at our starting point, Mr. B makes the following nonchalant statement, "I reckon I've got the best job in New Zealand." Yea. Or the world.

Thanks to Mr. & Mrs. E for the gift, definitely a highlight of the trip!

To American burger lovers, where to get burgers in NZ: skip the burger completely and order fish and chips instead. In the northern part of the north island, I can tell you a place that serves a mean one, coming up in a future post.

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