Thursday, March 28, 2013

Decelerated

It's not an excuse, it's a reason. Not that this actually happened, but if you were to be stopped by a traffic cop with a radar gun on SH1 near, say, Balclutha, all you'd have to say would be, "There must be some mistake, officer. I've just been in the Catlins for three days." And then he would say, "Sorry, ma'm, carry on," and send his machine away to be recalibrated.

That's the effect this region has on people: it's the ultimate chill-out destination, and not just because it's often cold and rainy. For my visit it's been warm, dry and sunny, but driving away this morning I was so relaxed that it was a genuine, and unwelcome, effort to crank the car up to 100kmh when I reached the highway.

Sure, there are lots of winding, unsealed roads - but the seals at the end of them (sorry), and the penguins and dolphins, the wind-bent trees framing long views of the tropical blue Southern Ocean, the people always ready for a chat... It's the kind of place for slowing down and taking notice, and breathing deep. Speaking of which, even here at Dunedin Airport, the air smells of sweet silage with a hint of cow pats. Lovely! (No, really.)

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