**FUN FACT ABOUT NEW ZEALAND: The Lord of the Rings trilogy and The Hobbit were filmed in New Zealand,and it is possible to visit Hobbiton yourself! **
SPOTLIGHT TRAVEL with Basketball Player –
Meet Glenn Dandridge. A professional basketball player from Virginia who has played in different parts of the world.
Today you will get a glimpse of Glenn’s life playing basketball in New Zealand for 5 months…
Holly Dayz: I know you went to New Zealand to play basketball, what part were you in?
Glen Dandridge: I was in Christchurch, New Zealand, in the South Island.
Holly Dayz: What were your first thoughts when you realized that was were you would be headed to play basketball?
Glen Dandridge: I knew that it was on the other side of the world and knew that it would be different.
Holly Dayz: Did you do anything to prepare? If so what?
Glen Dandridge: I did nothing out of the normal. Just train, like I normally do before leaving to go play in another country.
Holly Dayz:What team did you play for? Tell me about the experience.
Glen Dandridge: The team’s name is Canterbury Rams. A team with a high tradition value. Because of the earthquakes that destroyed the city, they weren’t able to have a team in the city for a number of years. So this was the first year for the Rams to be back in the league.
Holly Dayz:Were a lot of your teammates from the United States?
Glen Dandridge: My entire team was from New Zealand. Only two imports were allowed per team, so it was me and three other Americans. Two of the American players were naturalized citizens.
Holly Dayz: How is the city of Christchurch since the earthquakes?
Glen Dandridge: I enjoyed my time in Christchurch. The city is still being rebuilt from the earthquakes. It will be nice in the future when everything is built back up.
Holly Dayz: What are some of the “tourist” type of spots that you visited, versus places you went to as a “resident?” ex. Clubs, restaurants, shopping…
Glen Dandridge: I went down to Queenstown. Which is big for skiing … Also has one of the largest bungee jumping bridges .. Crazy thing is, their winter is our summer, so it was a little hard getting used to that.
Holly Dayz: How was playing basketball there,different from other countries you have played in?
Glen Dandridge: Basketball is basketball no matter where you go in the world. May be officiated differently but that’s part of the game and you just have to adjust.
Holly Dayz: Do they try to emulate USA styles or do they have their own unique ways that we in the US copy? Did you pick up any styles that you brought back with you to the states?
Glen Dandridge: New Zealand was very unique. They definitely had their own style as far as people just in the city. My teammates were very much “Americanized”. Meaning, they watched or have been around Americans, so they use some of that style as well. No I didn’t take on a particular style, but a local clothing company, named of Uptown Goods, has great street wear and I did bring some of that back with me to the states.
Holly Dayz: What is the public transportation like? Are there a lot of cars or do the locals take buses , trains or taxi’s more often? How did you get around?
Glen Dandridge: Public transport is the same as in the states. There are buses, and taxis. Most of the locals would take buses or have their own car. I don’t know what the fares were… I had my own car.
Holly Dayz: What is the weather really like there? What can people visiting expect during the different seasons?
Glen Dandridge: Weather in the summer time is nice. The sun is more harsh there… Also the seasons are the reverse of the seasons in the U.S.. Right now it’s winter time there and summer time here.
Holly Dayz: Did you pick up the Kiwi language?
Glen Dandridge: There is no Kiwi language per say… It’s all English they just had a different accent that I would have to ask to repeat often because I didn’t understand the first time.
**(There are several languages of New Zealand. English (New Zealand English) is the dominant language spoken by most New Zealanders. There are around 70,000 native speakers of Maori out of a population of over 500,000 Māori people.)**
Holly Dayz: What were some places you liked to go to grab some food?
Glen Dandridge: For the most part I ate at home. I cooked most of my meals. But I did like the local fish and chips spots.
**(No trip to New Zealand is complete without a delicious Hangi. Hangi means earth oven, and is a traditional Maori method of cooking food using heated rocks buried in a pit oven. Fish and Chips is a bona-fide Kiwi favourite. Freshly caught snapper, terakihi and hoki are the most common types of fish used.)**
Holly Dayz: After practice or on a day off, what were your favorite places to go to relax?
Glen Dandridge: I like to go up to the hills and just relax and take in the beautiful scenery over the bays.
Holly Dayz: I know your really into photography, what were some of your favorite places to take pictures?
Glen Dandridge: I liked taking photos at the beach, or on the hills overlooking the bays. Also, any beach that has a pier. I would go to NewBrighton Beach and Pier, that would light up just after dark.