Sunday, January 15, 2012

14 January 2012: Queenstown --> Dunedin

We woke this morning to beautiful blue skies and bright sun...which means we must be leaving!  We had a cool morning (high 50s), but the sun made it all worth it.  After a short stroll to the Lake Wakatipu waterfront in Queenstown to visit the Saturday morning farmer's market (it is summer, you know!), I made a quick trip through town to pickup a savory (a pie the circumference of a softball that is filled with meats, veggies, and cheese...oh goodness they're tasty!).  By 11am, we were in the van and on our way through the central Otago region down to Dunedin.  We traveled through many small towns, all hosting their own version of a farmers market.  I guess if the singing birds didn't let me know it was summer, then the presence of the farmers markets, with children running around outdoor tables lined with veggies and crafts and adults carrying bags and boxes of veggies and baked goods through make-shift carparks (parking lots to us) definitely did!

This morning also featured Lindsay Bordonaro (History/ Education) as discussion leader with the Balmville School's 3rd graders during our Skype session.  To say Lindsay was in her element during her discussion with the students this morning would be putting it lightly!  Lindsay took the student's questions and turned them into vignette's that placed her (our) trip experiences into contexts connected to information with which the students were familiar (how easily or quickly could you make the connection between phytoplankton and the Spongebob Squarepants character, 'Plankton'?!).  Lindsay did an awesome job sharing what she had learned on the trip, often using the Balmville Bee mascot while addressing the students' questions.  Lindsay's expertise on some of the questions led a nearby 'Kiwi' (native New Zealander) to comment to me that he had learned a thing or two while overhearing the session!  Lindsay is going to make an excellent teacher!

We drove on to the southeast corner of the Otago region, only to hit winds gusting to 30mph and whipping rain showers.  We reached Dunedin after 4 hours in the car and found out from the receptionist of our hostel that, guess what? Today was the first day Dunedin had rain in over a month!  All hail the rain-bringers of the Northern Hemisphere!  Well, we'll just have to see about that!  Tomorrow: the Dunedin Botanical Gardens with Dr. Dana Dudle, botany professor from DePauw University (Indiana).

A sunny morning developing outside our hostel room's window.  Hooray!

Beautiful Lake Wakatipu on the edge of Queenstown.  Just stunning!

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