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Down Under 75 Above

New Zealand is the most beautiful and safest place in the world.

Add to this a winter average temperature of 75 degrees and you have paradise.

My wife and I just returned from Auckland, New Zealand. We were there for the shortest day of its year – June 21. In the Southern Hemisphere everything is backwards. Their winter is our summer and so on.

About the only things that can harm you are a couple of tiny creatures. The katipō spider can give you a nasty bite and there’s a centipede that can kill you (maybe) if you step on it with a bare foot.

No poisonous snakes or animals stalk you in The Land of the Long White Cloud.

(Just the opposite of nearby Australia where Desert Death Adders lurk, some say created by the devil himself. Even the goofy duck-billed platypus of Oz has poisonous fangs or toxic saliva glands or something.)

Actually the New Zealand centipede and spider present no real threat since the Kiwis long ago devised a brilliant method to deal with the tiny critters.

Each New Zealand home is designed so its pesky insects and human inhabitants co-exist in harmony.

The key is the way Kiwis heat their homes.

In other counties where the winters hover at freezing the inhabitants have central heating.

Not in New Zealand’s hundreds of thousands of beautifully restored Victorian homes with their 16 foot high ceilings.

Instead of central heating, Kiwis use space heaters.

The Kiwi ingenuity knows exactly where to place those space heaters.

Indeed the New Zealand Parliament has decreed that all space heaters must be attached at ceiling level.

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Yes, that’s right. Space heaters in New Zealand are bolted to the walls 15.5 feet above ground.

This ensures that each room is toasty warm at ceiling level. (After all, heat rises.)

At floor level the country wears layers of clothing. Two pairs of long johns, three layers of wool, five layers of sheep skin and several sets of gum boots.

New Zealand is the only country on the planet to have created a truly symbiotic arrangement with its insects.

Oh, there are a few tiny problems.

Living “near the floor” produces the perfect world for influenza to rage.

This “does-in” many of the weaker Kiwis, but those who survive provide fine breeding stock for the entire Southern Hemisphere.

The Kiwi men gallop around in short cotton pants as they shop for additional space heaters to hang from their ceilings to ensure that people and insects exist in separate micro-climates less than 12 feet apart.

This produces an average temperature of 75 degrees in winter.

This is calculated by averaging the 100 degree ceiling temperature with the 50 degrees floor temperature.

This of course enables New Zealand Travel to boast of “The Land of the Long White Cloud” with its perfect winter “average” temperature of 75 degrees.

My wife and I are eager to return to the Southern Hemisphere.

This time we’ll take our chances in Australia against Desert Death Adders.

They’ll probably kill us but we’ll die warm.

By the way I wrote a novel about a religious nut who lived in New Zealand. Me.

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