Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dunedin and a Great Flight on Air New Zealand

We spent Tuesday in a "foreign" country, south Los Angeles. It was a learning experience. Our hotel was only 2 blocks from the MTA, so we decided to go on with our quest for the best pastrami sandwich in the world. We found what we were looking for at Langer's Deli in downtown LA, and discovered the "tired and poor" on the Metropolitan Transit Authority's trains. We never felt threatened, but it was amazing to see the variety of economic-, health-, and future-challenged individuals traveling who-knows-where with lots of babies and young children in tow. There were old people, too, some on crutches or wheel chairs, some with grandchildren. There were hookers, teenagers, and hustlers. One young man with a big smile was peddling fruit sticks, "six for a dollar, all fresh." It's illegal, but he was a real entrepreneur and obviously successful, as we saw him later, and his big jar was almost empty. Everyone had a cell phone. What a country we live in.

The pastrami was hot, sweet, tender and served on home-made rye bread. It was definitely the best we've ever eaten. If you go to LA, go to Langer's. Some handsome young firemen, on their lunch break enjoying the sunny weather outside their department downtown, gave us directions. Everyone knows Langer's.

Our flight left right on time, 7:30 p.m. We had a terrific four-course dinner with generous pours of Marlborough sauvignon blanc to wash it down. Air New Zealand does everything they can to make passengers welcome and comfortable on the 12 hour plus trip across the Pacific. After retrieving our bags in Auckland and clearing customs and immigration, we walked to the domestic terminal for our flight to Dunedin. It was a beautiful flight across both islands. The sun was just up, and the view of Queen Charlotte Sound, Christ Church and Mt. Cook from the air was spectacular. Our rental car was waiting, and Bill successfully navigated our way to The Bluestone Inn in downtown Dunedin. The Tom/Tom was right on target. What a miracle.

It is still a beautiful day, clear and crip with lots of sun. The light here is so different from other places. Everything seems so sharp and colorful. Dunedin is a lovely Victorian city with lots of gorgeous public buildings and neighborhoods. The college students are all just back for their fall term (25,000 of them) so the streets are filled with raggedy tee-shirted and be-jeaned twenty-somethings.

After a rest and a glass of wine, we'll go find dinner and have an early night. There's lots of hikes and wild-life here (besides the college students). We'll go see what we can find tomorrow, and I'll post some pictures.

We are 18 hours ahead of Eastern Standard time, so it is Thursday afternoon here - about 4:30, as I write. Good night to you all.

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