As an American, I am used to the retail shops staying open until 9 or 10 Monday- Saturday and closing around 8 or 9 on Sundays. Costco is probably the closest retail shop in America that is the norm here is New Zealand. I got off the train yesterday in Christchurch at around 7pm on a Saturday. Christchurch is the largest city on the south island. About 300k I think. I walked through a mall parking lot and it was deserted. Ghost Town status. There were no cars on the street, people about. Empty. I was staying about 1/2 hour from the closest grocery store which closed at 9, so I had to book it. Christchurch is an interesting example because they suffered a devastating Earthquake in 2011. I would compare it to Katrina and the aftermath of New Orleans. The difference though is money and insurance. At least that is my guess. When I walked down the main drag to the grocery store, I saw a lot of buildings closed for construction. Some of the parks are closed off for renovation. Basically, the city is one large construction site. It’ll be interesting to see how long it takes Christchurch to get back on its feet. But the country of New Zealand still closes down before 8. It was a Saturday night, and besides a few bars, the city of Christchurch was a ghost zone. It was an eerie feeling walking around. I left Taupo on a Sunday afternoon and 75% of the stores were closed all day for a family day. The town of Taupo also did not stay open past 8. I arrived in Wellington on a Monday around 6:30 and the city were deserted. Wellington is the capital. It’s a fairly large city, and the streets were empty by 7pm. All the stores and cafes were closed with a few exceptions. As an American, I find this very bizarre. Since I have lived in Nevada for the past few years, where the city is alive and going 24/7 it is a different atmosphere for me. I can see a small town like Gridley closing early, but I am not really going to small no-name towns. Imagine Tahoe closing down at 7. The shops, the grocery store, and only a few restaurant/bars remain open. I don’t think anything is wrong with closing early; I’m just not used to it. It will help me plan more accordingly. For instance, if I will be arriving into a town late, I should probably hit up the grocery store in the previous town. When I was in Nelson and dropped my phone I went straight into a Vodafone store. I must have walked in just before closing (5:30) because when they told me my phone was dead they were closing up. I was leaving for Greymouth the following morning and I said maybe there is an apple store there? They laughed at me. I said Christchurch? And they shook their head. Welcome to New Zealand. I think the only apple store may be in Auckland. I’m on a super long camping trip. That’s how I’ll think of it.