Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dunedin—Daniel refrains from stirring pot

Dunedin is one of the largest towns in the South Island, with a university and about 120,000 people.  I’d seen some pictures of it, and really wanted to make sure we stopped there, even if just for the night.  Well, Dunedin had exactly two pretty buildings.  The train station:

And a church:

There.  Now you don’t need to go.  However, we enjoyed it anyway, because we got to meet back up with our friend British friend Katy who had traveled with us some in Australia.  We had dinner with her, and she showed us what there was of Dunedin to see.  We met again for coffee in the morning, and then headed out to Christchurch. 

We did have a moment where it could have gotten exciting, I suppose.  There were a number of people camping in the center of Dunedin as part of the Occupy Wall Street protest.  We have actually seen protesters in Auckland and Wellington, too, but this was the first time we walked right by them.  Daniel was in pot stirring mode, too.  He thought of all sorts of things he wanted to say, and marketing ideas to sell them things, there by sneaking capitalism in on them.  Thankfully, he refrained himself.  Well, I’m thankful, but some of you longing for more interesting blog post might have enjoyed the stories that came from it.  Instead we just took a picture:

On the way out of town, we had to stop at the last of Dunedin’s claims to fame:  the world’s steepest street, Baldwin Street.  Daniel leans here to demonstrate:

It was imposing enough that neither of us tried to climb it, although they were selling accomplishment certificates for $2.  They didn’t seem to require any proof to sell you one.  We also passed a house we had to take a picture of.  For those of you that don’t follow rugby (all Americans I know), this fall was the rugby world cup, which was VERY exciting to the people we knew in Australia (who came in 3rd or 4th I think).  However, for Kiwis, Rugby seems more like a religion than a sport.  They happened to win the World Cup, so even though it was a few months ago, the whole country seems to still be really pumped about it.  Nearly every home and business flies an All Blacks flag.  However, we thought this was an especially enthusiastic house:

We particularly like the “Go The All Blacks” sign.  We weren’t sure why the “The” was there.  I guessed maybe it was like how people from the West Coast say “the” before the names of roads.  Like, “I took the 5 from LA,” instead of how the rest of the country just says, “I took 5 from LA.”

It was another long driving day to Christchurch, but we did stop at The Boulders, an odd geological formation along the South Pacific where there are some boulders that are inexplicably round:

Another pretty site, and I managed to convince Daniel to climb one:

They also had some tame deer nearby.  That has been another strange site in NZ.  Mostly the fields are full of sheep or possibly cows, but every so often you come across a deer farm.  Venison is more prevalent on restaurant menus.  I realized I had never seen a deer so close.  They are bigger than I thought.

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