Sunday, September 21, 2008

Memory Fails Me...Again!!

I was eating a burger when I got a sudden flash of a McDonald's outlet I frequented when I was studying in Dunedin, NZ. I remembered the layout, like where the counter was and where I usually sat, but for the love of God I couldn't remember where it was in relation to the house that I rented on George Street!! Maybe it was to the north, but I couldn't remember anything past the Dairy Queen, where a roomate of mine went to but Penthouse and Playboy once. I wasn't even sure if there was actually a street leading straight up.

If I turned left, I would see a nice, expensive-looking motel and across from it was the Botanic Garden where I spent quite a few of my weekends. I loved the old graveyard up there, the Northern Cemetery. It was like being in an old English horror flick: the cracked tombstones, the fallen branches and rotten leaves, the greyness and quiteness of the surrounding, the sudden sounds of big black birds flying off the old trees. But it was also calming and listening to Tommy Page's songs while being wrapped in a thick duvan during the cold winter nights.

The cemetery was opened in 1872 for the people of Dunedin, and approximately 17700 people was buried there. If you go by the address, it was eerily situated in Lovelock Avenue. Many of Dunedin's and New Zealand's early settlers and founding residents, such as entrepreneur William Larnach (of Larnach Castle), Charles Speight (of the drinks Speights) and poet, legislator and journalist Thomas Bracken. The first burial occurred on 2/12/ 1872 when a little girl named Ada Massey was laid to rest in Plot 1 of Block 45. The last plot was sold in 1937. A variety of people were buried here because we could see some elaborated tombstones which, undoubtedly, housed the rich and famous. There were some without tombstones, and these were seen in the hard to get area, like the slopes. They probably belonged to the 'classless' people of New Zealand. Well, even in death social caste played its role.

I remembered New World supermarket being close by. Dunedin city was so small and trusting that they allow you to push the shopping cart home...just leave the address and they'd pick it up the next day!! But I can't remember anything beyond the supermarket...

Surprisingly though, I remembered the taste of the fish & chips at another Dairy Queen near Dunedin College of Education. Eating those hot chips from oily paper bags in the middle of winter was pure heaven, especially when I didn't have much money in my pocket...

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