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January 12, 2002 -- Part 1  (Dunedin, N.Z.)

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Greetings from Dunedin (pronounced “Dun-EDEN”), a city of about 100,000 haggis-eating Kiwis set among the green, rolling hills of southeastern New Zealand.  Dunedin is Celtic for “Edinburgh” and the accent here, with some locals rolling the letter “R” reflects the area's Scottish heritage.  The scenery here is also like Scotland... and the weather is too, unfortunately.  Come to think of it, I’ve been in Dunedin for six days now waiting for the sun to come out -- I'm sure it's up there somewhere.  Hey, this is supposed to be summer!


This sums up how I feel.  These are the Serendipity Singers and Don't Let The Rain Come Down.

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As I write this, another storm is rolling through New Zealand and it’s raining and blowing pretty hard outside.  I've been in New Zealand for a month now and while some days have been gorgeous, it's rained part of almost every day that I've been here.  The storms here in Dunedin have been especially nasty and the bagpipers are having trouble keeping their kilts down in this weather, which, unfortunately, is supposed to continue for several more days. 


Most cities in New Zealand have already received their normal January rainfall (many in less than an hour) and Kiwis are starting to grumble, calling this “The summer that never was.”  It's interesting to read the paper each morning to see what new calamities have befallen the country with stories about floods, bridge washouts, and hikers in the mountains trapped by raging rivers becoming commonplace.  And then yesterday I saw a guy with a long beard down at the harbor loading pairs of animals onto his wooden boat.  Hmmm....


Just so you know, I’m writing this in a motel room with the heater cranked up all the way.  If you’re in the cold and snowy Midwest now, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that!  Seriously though, last night while shopping in a chilly Woolworth's grocery store, I huddled next to the roasted chicken counter just to warm up.  I lingered there quite a while and I'm sure the girl working at the deli was starting to wonder about me.


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Left:  Waiting for the rain to stop at the Arcadian Motel, my home in Dunedin for these past six soggy days.


The biggest issue for me recently, though, hasn’t been roasted chickens or even the weather, but rather the demise of my Canon D-30 digital camera.  The camera problem has been quite discouraging, to put it mildly, and I’ve described the situation in more detail below.  For several reasons, including the "Three C's" (the clouds, crowds and the problems I’ve had with my camera), I’m seriously thinking about returning to the U.S. in March to take a second trip around America this spring and summer, instead of traveling around the world like I had thought about doing.  But we'll see.


All right, here’s some info about my camera, a change of plans and, finally, my update between Christchurch and Dunedin.


Camera Woes, and Dirty Pictures

I haven’t had many problems during my U.S. and overseas trips, and for that I’ve been quite fortunate.  Other than not seeing Niagara Falls despite driving around it for an hour (see News: August 10, 2001), the biggest glitches on this trip so far include:

I think my good luck recently ran out, though.  I’ve always loved photography and I take my camera with me just about everywhere I go... perhaps that's one reason why women keep turning me down for dates.  Anyway, I've shot about 18,000 slides over the past 20 years but last spring, partly because of this website, I decided to switch from film to digital photography.  It was a pretty momentous decision for me, something akin to a Coke drinker switching to Pepsi -- or in my case, perhaps the other way. 


Anyway, after doing a lot of research I bought a Canon D-30, a 3.4-megapixel digital camera that accepts interchangeable lenses, meaning that I could use all of my Canon lenses on the D-30.  At $3,000, the D-30 camera body wasn’t cheap but, on the other hand, I figured I wouldn’t have to ever buy film again.  And of course, since it was a digital camera, I could easily post photos from it onto my website.  Indeed, I've shot all the pictures posted on this website with my Canon D-30. 


Though the picture quality of the D-30 wasn’t as good as film, I was pretty happy with the camera and I especially liked shooting 200 or 300 pictures a day and keeping only the best ones.  However, as I discovered, the main problem with the camera was that because you can change lenses, dirt can get onto the delicate sensor -- and that's exactly what happened.


Recently, more and more dirt has been accumulating on the sensor, so I guess you could say that I've been taking a lot of dirty pictures.  Anyway, I tried cleaning the sensor myself but it didn’t work – in fact, as so often happens when I try to fix something myself, it made things worse.  My only option now is to mail the camera to Canon in Los Angeles for cleaning, which isn't really practical.  Yesterday I realized that I could no longer use my D-30 so I went into Dunedin and bought a film camera, a Canon EOS Rebel, and got about 40 rolls of slide film.   So, after shooting 11,000 digital pictures on this trip since last June, I’ve given up on my D-30 and have gone back to shooting slides.  


A problem with shooting slides, of course, is that I can't post them on my website.  I got a cheap Samsung digital camera here thinking I could use it for my website photos, but it was exactly that:  cheap.  I think with a little creative cropping, though, I can still use my D-30 for my website.  That means, of course, that I'll be shooting with TWO cameras now:  my Rebel film camera and my D-30.  I'll have to see how well that works out.  Jeez, now I definitely won't get any dates!


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Left:  My Canon D-30 digital camera has been my faithful traveling companion since I left Portland last June.  The images don't look so great anymore, though, so I've switched to film and bought an EOS Rebel camera.  I'll probably still use my D-30 to post photos on this website.


New Plans

My main goal during this trip has been to play things loose:  if I like a place, I stay and if I don’t, I leave.  If you read my entry from Christchurch, you know that I was getting a little bummed out in New Zealand because of the massive crowds and the poor weather here.  Since I left Christchurch a week ago, the crowds have gotten worse, the weather has deteriorated… and now my D-30 digital camera is on the blink, so I'm really bummed out.  On the bright side, though, the people here in New Zealand are pretty wonderful and the scenery is spectacular -- at least, on the days when I can see it.


Nevertheless, I'm thinking more seriously now about returning to the U.S. in March after spending the rest of January in New Zealand and spending February in Australia.  I’m glad I came down here because now I know what it's like, but I think two months in New Zealand and a month in Australia will be enough for this trip. 


This entry is getting pretty long so I’ll post my update from Christchurch to soggy Dunedin on a separate page, at January 12, 2002 -- Part 2  (Dunedin, New Zealand)   See you there!




Next News

January 12, 2002 -- Part 2  (Dunedin, New Zealand)



Previous News

January 1, 2002 -- Part 2  (Christchurch, New Zealand)

January 1, 2002 -- Part 1  (Christchurch, New Zealand)

December 24, 2001  (Wellington, New Zealand)

December 20, 2001  (Auckland, New Zealand)

December 16, 2001  (Auckland, New Zealand)

December 14, 2001  (Aitutaki, Cook Islands)

December 10, 2001  (Rarotonga, Cook Islands)

December 3, 2001 -- Part 2  (Bellingham, Washington)

December 3, 2001 -- Part 1  (Bellingham, Washington)

October 18, 2001 -- Part 3  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

October 18, 2001 -- Part 2  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

October 18, 2001 -- Part 1  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

October 6, 2001  (Fort Lincoln State Park, North Dakota)

September 30, 2001 -- Part 2  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

September 30, 2001 -- Part 1  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

September 15, 2001  (Bismarck, North Dakota)

August 30, 2001  (Webster, South Dakota)

August 18, 2001  (Watertown South Dakota)

August 17, 2001  (Walnut Grove, Minnesota)

August 14, 2001  (Minneapolis, Minnesota)

August 10, 2001 (Battle Creek, Michigan)

August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 2)

August 8, 2001  (12 Days in Syracuse: Part 1)

August 6, 2001  (Manlius, New York)

July 23, 2001  (Middleton, Massachusetts)

July 22, 2001  (Boston, Massachusetts)

July 20, 2001  (Pomfret, Connecticut)

July 18, 2001  (Denton, Maryland)

July 16, 2001  (Cumberland, Virginia)

July 14, 2001  (Roanoke, Virginia)

July 9, 2001  (Sevierville, Tennessee)

July 8, 2001  (Fontana Lake, North Carolina)

July 5, 2001  (Manchester, Tennessee)

June 30, 2001  (Hohenwald, Tennessee)

June 29, 2001  (Corinth, Mississippi)

June 27, 2001  (Natchez, Mississippi)

June 24, 2001  (Austin, Texas)

June 20, 2001  (Canyon de Chelly, Arizona)

June 18, 2001  (Clay Canyon, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 2  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 15, 2001 -- Part 1  (Zion Nat'l Park, Utah)

June 14, 2001  (San Diego, California)

June 11, 2001  (San Jose, California)

June 2, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

May 19, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 30, 2001  (Hillsboro, Oregon)

April 19, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)

April 5, 2001  (Bellingham, Washington)


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