Dunedin 2008

First Week Has Flown By

It’s hard to believe we’ve been in Dunedin a week now (well, in about 10 hours). Having thoroughly explored the city center and areas to the south of our flat and the university, we headed out to a short strip on St. King Street to the north of us. There we found a McDonald’s, Pizza Hut, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Domino’s Pizza as well as a number of bars and a big liquor store. Must be the end of town the university students frequent on evenings (drinking age here is 18). There are some some McDonald’s and Subway Sandwiches and a Burger King near the City Center.

A friend asked me to comment on the socio-economic situation here, and it’s a bit difficult to get a grasp of. Given the number of homes and population, it seems that the town should be bustling. Hilo is much smaller in terms of population and sprawl (of the primary residential and business area), but is much busier as far as vehicular traffic. There are some businesses further to the south of city center, and perhaps more of the locals frequent those areas than the university and city center area.

Food in the supermarket is priced similarly to Hawai‘i, at least for items that are locally raised, grown and processed. I’ve noticed that manufactured goods from afar are considerably more expensive. There is a KMart here, and a large Costco-like company called “The Warehouse”, though in reality I don’t think it is much larger than our Hilo Walmart. Prices there seem to be about 25% higher than what we would pay in Hawai‘i.

Eating out is a bit pricey, and we don’t do it much. It’s difficult to find a decent lunch for less than $10 not counting drinks, which as I’ve mentioned previously are pricey. We’ve found few nice sit down places like we are accustomed to in Hilo, though there are many Japanese, Thai, Chinese, Turkish, Indian and Pakistani restaurants everywhere. Portions are significantly smaller than those served in Hawai‘i restaurants as well (i.e., no 1 lb. laulau or poi found anywhere, obviously).

As far as population goes, by far the highest percentage of people that we’ve encountered have been Caucasian, either descendants of European settlers or immigrants themselves, as well as a significant number of people of Asian and Middle Eastern ancestry. Many of them have perfect kiwi accents with no noticeable traces of Asian or Middle Eastern accents, so they may have been born here or have lived here for a very long time. We’ve seen and met very few M?ori or those that would appear to be part-M?ori. While at Auckland, our taxi driver as well as some of the front desk staff were of S?moan ancestry. Regardless of their ethnicity and origins, we’ve been warmly welcomed and well treated. People are very inquisitive about our origins when they hear us speak, even when we simply ask for help in the market or on the street, and almost without exception they have given us credit and thanks for bringing our lovely Hawai‘i weather to Dunedin.

For those that keep asking us about the weather, I’ve added a Dunedin weather badge to the top of the first column on the right. Thankfully it can be set to display temperature in Fahrenheit. I had to do an Excel spreadsheet myself to be able to convert from Celcius to Farenheight. If you are interested, the formula is (C*1.8)+32 where “C” is the temperature in Celsius. Enjoy.

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