Saturday, 24 November 2007

Esquires Coffee House

A few years ago Napier, like much of the rest of New Zealand, was not a place where coffee shops abounded. I'm not sure how many there are now but 'a lot' will certainly be an accurate assessment. From excellent privately owned one-off establishments to the inevitable Starbucks.
For the American there is nothing more comforting than turning up at the other end of the earth and pretending to be a tourist (their greatest aspiration) to find that McDonalds, KFC, Starbucks and Amex offer their services. None of this having to feast on the delights of local cuisine or read a menu (albeit that it might, as in New Zealand, actually be in a reasonably recognisable tongue). They can honestly say that they disembarked from their Cruise Liner, visited the City or Town Centre, ate in a local cafe/coffee house and having discovered that the local food was just like theirs and therefore civilised, re-embark and enter once more unto their search for new and exciting places in which to be a tourists again.

I added Amex even though it has absolutely nothing to do with restaurants or coffee shops because it is the one financial institution which, so far as I can tell, really does look after it's customers. Lose your card, leave home for 6 months just before your card runs out or forget to pay one month and incur a charge. A problem? Certainly not. You will have a card in your hand or your charge cancelled before you have had time to blink. I hate to say it but it's an American instution that can teach our Banks a very great deal about service.

Anyway I digressed. Many of the coffee shops in Napier have WiFi internet access for Laptops. I suppose because there are so many visitors and so many people here have relatives abroad Internet communication is even more a way of life than in the UK. Anyway Esquires (which is an international chain or franchise) offers free WiFi access if you buy something. I don't know how much business it generates for them but I should think it's a fairly significant amount. So I spend quite a lot of time there using the WiFi and drinking their excellent coffee.

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