Sunday, November 16, 2008
Ella and I went to Dunedin a week ago, for a week. My brother Rua, my sister-in-law Jill, my niece Millie, and my nephew Alex live down there (there are other people living in Dunedin too, of course, but I don't think I'm related to any of them). Millie was turning seven on the Saturday we were there, so it seemed like a good time to go.
We flew down on Wednesday the 5th. We went from Hamilton to Christchurch on an ATR 72 (I love these planes), and then on to Dunners on 737-300 (I don't love these planes quite as much).
Anyway, it was 8°C in Dunedin when we got there - I'm sure you're all familiar enough with the climate of the Central North Island of New Zealand to know that it's usually a bit warmer than that in November. Snow on the hills in Dunners, though. Many different people told me that while this isn't usual, it's not unheard of.
I like the cold anyway, so I thought it was great.
Jill and Millie came to pick us up from the airport - Millie was off "sick" from school!
We settled in a bit, and the next day Jill, Alex, Millie, Ella and I went to the Cadbury factory, pretty much right in the middle of town. Nearly $50 for a family pass for a tour, but I think it was well worth it.
Here we are just after tasting plain cocoa beans:
They are not very nice. I am in fact stifling a chunder.
There's a small kind of display section to wander around in before you go on the actual factory tour. I wasn't too fascinated by it (aside from the old Moro wrappers), but Ella was pretty transfixed:
We had to put all our stuff in a locker (including cameras, which is a bit of a bummer) before heading into the factory. We also had to cram our hair into hairnet things:
Well, have you ever had a hair in your chocolate?
The tour was awesome - lots of interesting machinery and stuff. I have to say that pretty much all the jobs in there are horribly dull, but I guess factory work's pretty much the same no matter how nice the product is.
We were told that this factory produces all the Curly-Wurlys for Australasia. Were there any in the shop though? Were there buggery! DISAPPOINTING, but not enough to overshadow what was a cool tour - it even has a chocolate waterfall at the end, which fully kicks the Willy Wonka one to the kerb.
The kids posed as little Cadbury workers before we left:
You also get various chocolate bars as part of the tour (a small bag - not armloads like in my fantasies, but enough). To help the kids use up some of the sugar, we went to Baldwin Street, the Steepest Street . . . In The World (imagine Jeremy Clarkson saying it).
I've viewed it from the bottom before, from a car, but there were too many people in that car for the owner to be game enough to try driving up.
Ella uncharacteristically beat everyone to the top, me and Alex bringing up the rear. It is pretty steep alright. The most amazing thing is that some houses don't appear to have driveways. The occupants must either walk all their groceries in, or perhaps they have huge blocks of wood to chock their car in place on the street outside?
Here's everyone (bar me) resting on the thoughtfully-placed bench at the top:
Here are the kids courting disaster (thank god Betty wasn't there) by dancing at the top of The World' Steepest Residential Gradient:
. . . and here's everyone (bar me) heading back down. Close-up at the full extent of zoom on our new camera:
. . . and no zoom to give you another idea of how steep it is:
Yep, there's a dude bikin' up.
We rescued Rua from work and went and had lunch at Starfish in St. Clair, which was great, just as it has been in the past.
That night Alex and Millie's school had a disco. Despite Ella and I not being pupils OR parents of pupils, we knew the DJ:
so were able to blag our way in anyway.
Ella wore a dress handed down from her mum, so it may have seen school disco action before:
Millie wore a velvet jackardigan:
Alex wore his Speed Racer costume (of course):
There was a blacklight, which worked pretty well on a '70s dress, as you might expect it to:
Alex also showed me his classroom while we were there:
His principal took the photo, and for no charge gave the camera its first destruction test. It survived, and to be honest, Betty will probably give it a lot more of a hiding.
1 billion flashing rubber LED toys and 1200 K Bars later, it was pretty much the end of Day One in Dunners. More later.