After a three day crossing from Melbourne on the Bahia Negro, I landed on Feb 23 in the pretty harbor town of Port Chalmers, which is right next to Dunedin, the “Austin of New Zealand” as I was told by a friendly barista at a local coffee shop. (There are dozens of them, and they’re all pretty good. Dunedinistas like their caffeine.)
Darren Atkinson, an affable Brit doing his PhD on post-conflict reconstruction political party development in post-communist Afghanistan at the University of Otago here, was kind enough to take me in via Couchsurfing. And it was a bromance made in heaven. His own experiences in Lebanon, Jordan, Afghanistan and Pakistan made he and I a great duo for the week that I spent with him. Also crashing with Darren were Louise G., her brother Paul and his girlfriend Chelsea.