© 2020, The McGees

Dunedin Week 5 - Same, Same but Different

May 11, 2019

It is a routine week here in Dunedin - with much the same but always something new and different…

The beach - we have been here every day, yet this week, we are surprised by large spiders crossing the sand, beams of light and long shadows. Off the beach, in the parking lot which is also a Freedom Camping Area, we see many new vans but also recognize repeat campers . One young man, who has a kitten with him, waves animatedly at us in recognition. We have noticed that people seem to disappear for a night and then return for another 2 night maximum. Are they staying put in Dunedin on their travels or perhaps living in their vans? Oh, to be young…

Work and school - Tim continues to work remotely but this week tries out a co-working space downtown and enjoys some concentrated productivity. I return to helping with English class and work with adults from Afghanistan. During the 5 years they spent as refugees in a camp in Indonesia, they received beginning English lessons and their skills show.

Hiking - While Tim is co-working, I venture out on a new hike up Bethune’s Gully to the top of Mt. Cargill. There are so many hiking options to choose from here. I have a great tramping book from a neighbor but it still can be a little intimidating to set off alone. The directions often say to park along a street, venture through someone’s private property, along the creek, into the bush and to the trail. The hike I choose this week has an actual car park and sign. It is a wonderful hike through lush forest and bush to a peak with fabulous views. I see very few people. Several times I think I hear people on the trail only to stop and realize that it is the cacophony of birds. I actually laugh at one point thinking one of those birds (a tui perhaps?) sounds just like R2D2.

Trains - not a ride this week but a model train show. Train enthusiasts appear to be the same everywhere and we feel at home among these “big” kids as well as the little kids who are running around with their own small stools to get a better view.

Books - In honor of the Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival (Dunedin is a UNESCO City of Literature), we attend a discussion with investigative reporter and author, Stephen Davis. He happens to be the husband of one of the book club members we met last week. His new book, Truthteller, tackles fake news, conspiracy theories and the current worldwide war on truth. Fascinating and familiar! We walk away with better understanding of the hazards of spreading news for which the source is unknown as well as the importance of PAYING for news - to ensure the funding of investigative reporting.

Maps - The book discussion takes place in the Dunedin Museum of Art so we arrive early to peruse the artwork. Tim is attracted to the “Mapping the Collection” exhibit - a different kind of map!

We also have the opportunity to walk around Dunedin’s central Octagon with a statue of Scottish poet Robert Burns and an old cathedral - kind of like Sonoma’s Square - but different…

Beach spider

Beam us up Scotty

Long shadows

Freedom Camping Rules and Regulations

Young campers

Fall in Bethune's Gully

Tree fern forest

Happiness is...

Approaching Mt Cargill summit

View toward North

View toward South

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