© 2021, The McGees

Dunedin Week 2

April 15, 2019

We are getting more and more comfortable in this house and with our animal roommates - waking up less often wondering “Where are we?” and feeling less inclined to exclaim to one another “WE ARE IN NEW ZEALAND!”

No one is more surprised than myself that I am becoming smitten with these donkeys. Travis, at 4 years, is a bit mischievous. He has learned to pick up my water bottle. I turn around to see him walking away with it swinging from his mouth. He loves to nuzzle his whole head right against my belly and get forehead and ear rubs. Doe eyed Hoti, at 14 years, is curious and sweet. He is the first to come over to see what I am doing and is very patient with hoof care. He has had issues in the past.

They poop - a lot. But I cannot complain. It consists of these compact, easy to pick up nodules. Donkeys are desert animals and programmed to absorb every bit of nutrient from the food they consume as it passes through. The homeowners use the poop in their plant beds.

Driving with Whistle and Lucy each morning to the beach is hilarious. About 3 km before arrival, they start vocalizing their anticipation. They sound, no joke, like zombies from the Walking Dead.

Part of the beach routine is stick, or I should say, log, retrieval. We throw, they retrieve and proceed to carry or drag to the dunes. In their minds, all sticks belong in the dunes, not on the beach or in the creek.

It is fall here and the chooks are not laying a lot of eggs - but some! We thank them for their contribution to our Easter brunch - scrambled.

Speaking of Easter, we are sad (OK I am sad) that there are no bird’s egg malt balls to be found. Reeses (Tim is sad) are also scarce. There is all kinds of Cadbury candy about, but word on the street is to NOT buy it. We hear that Cadbury closed its chocolate factory in Dunedin last year and moved it to Australia. The Kiwis did not appreciate the job losses. So for now, we are indulging in Whittaker’s chocolate.

This weekend we get out for a nice hike with fabulous views of Dunedin and the Southern Alps. We can even see the island just of our walking beach far in the distance.

We also attend a rugby game in the local stadium. Thinking we’ll pop in for a beer and a bite before the game at the local Emerson’s brewery, we are surprised to find that it is THE pre-game local hang-out. Standing room only. We follow the crowd to the indoor stadium to experience this national sport which, in reality, we know not much about.

Tim is enamored with the marching band of the Dunedin Highlanders. They wear kilts and play bagpipes reminding him of his high school band, the La Habra Highlanders! The game starts. We watch - and we whisper - and we wonder - what in the heck is happening with the ball during those multi-body shifting wrestling matches

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Written by Julie and Tim McGee who live in Sonoma, California, USA and frequently elsewhere...