Dunedin has been compared to Edinburgh, Scotland, even dubbed "The Edinburgh of the South." However, I spent a couple of months in Edinburgh many years ago, and Dunedin really does not remind me of Edinburgh at all. I've checked with a few other people who know both cities, and they all agree. It reminded me a BIT of San Francisco. Big hills, beautiful architecture and the bay and the ocean make up the similarities. Of course, it's smaller than San Fran. And the architecture and general feel are different.
So, first off, I stayed in a Hostel called Hogwartz. In retrospect, I suspect the name is meant to be a bit ironic, though I'm really not sure. It's an old residence for the Catholic Bishop and I suppose it's meant to feel a bit like an old castle. It didn't, though. It was very nice and had a nice view of the city, being up on a hill.
|Side view of the church|
|Front view of church|
|View of Dunedin and the bay from up on the hill|
|Another view from up the hill|
I got there Saturday evening and had time before dark to go down to the Octagon and check things out. Apparently, I missed the big, annual "keg party" in which about 10-15,000 students (perhaps the entire student body) are out on the streets drinking and raising a ruckus. Apparently they like to get up on rooftops and sometimes the roofs collapse. I guess there were a few injuries, but nothing serious. I'm grateful to have missed it!
I took myself out to dinner and had a delicious piece of salmon. For dessert I had this "chocolate cone"thing:
A cone of pure dark chocolate mousse!
I also walked around and took pictures of some of the really pretty buildings. The famous railway station:
|Showing how far it is to various places from the railway station|
|And a little information about the station|
Then there was the Cadbury factory. Apparently, Cadbury in New Zealand, and everywhere else in the world EXCEPT the US is committed to eliminating slavery from its supply chain. Unfortunately, they sold their US operation to Hershey which is NOT showing much concern for the slave problem.
I didn't get to take a tour, since it was late on a Saturday evening. But...it's so close...so I will!
Then I went to visit the hospital and the med school.
|Yes, they have the same problem here|
|Medical School building|
|And the "Monkey Bar" across the street|
After all that, I put myself to bed to get ready for the 10 am service at the Anglican cathedral.
|Robert Burns sits in front of the cathedral forever|
|Beautiful prayer from the New Zealand Prayer Book|
The service was fairly traditional, with a beautiful choir. Since the Anglican church in Balclutha is so non-liturgical, it was nice to have some tradition in such a beautiful setting. Of course, being a newcomer, it's always hard to experience one of the most important parts of going to church: the community.
The "community" part came after church, when I went to do what I had actually gone to Dunedin to do: meet a friend from GCN called Rob. Rob moved from the US to Australia about 20 years ago and lives in Sydney. I met him at the conference in Denver in 2011 and when he found out I was moving to New Zealand, he decided to come over to visit and help ease my transition. Unfortunately, I didn't pull out the camera once during the afternoon. However, I found this photo on the internet which pretty much looks like what I saw:
Rob, Patrick (another friend from GCN) and I had lunch next to the ocean and I watched the weather change several times and surfers go in and out of the waves. Patrick lives in Olympia, WA and I met him last year when we were there visiting Laura's aunt and uncle. He is an anthropologist who wrote an excellent book called Thou Shalt Not Love: What Evangelicals Really Say to Gays. He used to teach in Dunedin and had brought a group of students back for an anthropological tour of New Zealand. What a small world, eh? After lunch, Patrick left and Rob and I stayed and talked awhile longer. GCN is an amazing worldwide community of committed Christians who are either gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender themselves or who are allies of those who are. One of the things Rob told me that I've been pondering (and may have to write about eventually) is that he was once told by a pastor that, in that pastor's experience, gay Christians are almost never "lukewarm." We're either "all in" or we're not. I think it's true...we've usually experienced a lot of rejection from the Church and in order to actually stick it out and stay, we have to do our homework and we have to be committed.
After my afternoon chatting with Rob, I made my way home from Dunedin. Happily, the next day, Monday, was the Otago Anniversary (see this article on Wikipedia for a wee bit of information) so I didn't have to get up early. My little journey to Dunedin was quite exhausting!