But a big difference is the cleanliness. I barely saw any litter on the streets all day. I'd been told that New Zealand is a clean country, but it's a really clean country. And everyone I've come across has been very friendly. And I feel so safe, even wandering round unfamiliar city streets at 6am this morning. So far, this country is doing it right.
Getting here was on the shortest 13 hour flight ever, after my 24 hours on a bus last week. That trip actually feels like ages ago. So much has happened between then and now.
And now, here I am, missing a Wednesday from my week and a bit sleep deprived, but wandering round the town made me feel very at home. For one thing, it rained. I haven't seen rain in weeks. But the temperature is comfortable, about the same as Santiago was. So I haven't been thrown in at the deep end just yet.
Earlier I was thrown into some kind of familiar food-related ecstasy though. I went shopping for lunch, and came across a treasure trove. Baked beans, British tea, Patak's curry sauce, Bisto... And all the Cadbury chocolate I could ever want. And in fantastic flavours we don't have in the UK, like Rocky Road. What did we do to not deserve that!?
But there's already been some reverse culture shock. I keep wanting to 'Hola' people, and almost throwing toilet paper on the floor, because there's no bin for it, because the plumbing works here! Heaven. And there are no stray dogs. And they drive on the left, so I keep looking the wrong way when crossing the road. South America could kill me yet.
So on the whole, New Zealand, with its autumnal leaves (I haven't seen deciduous trees in months), Maori language option on ATMs, and singing pedestrian crossings, is hitting the spot.
Doesn't mean I don't miss Latin America just a little though.