Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Northwards

After finishing off my first year of architecture school, I have begun my first adventure to the other side of the world...
Wellington to London
I sat next to a couple and their six month old baby on the plane from Wellington to Auckland, and they wished me luck on my 27 hour journey. I honestly had no idea what to expect. Once in Auckland, as I waited to board, I joined the few people who were stretching and walking - as if preparing for some athletic event. I think we should all have had matching tracksuits...
The stars above Auckland 
Our plane roared into the night, and the clear stars engulfed us. Looking out my window they were all I could see, and it was easy to imagine my first step was into space.
LAX
12 hours later, the clouds dispersed to reveal the smog of Los Angeles, spread out like a computer chip.
Mars
But after a short stop, where the United States government took my fingerprints and photograph forever, and I took a copy of "USA Today," we flew east and north, across the Rocky Mountains, which could well have been the surface of Mars, and into my second sunset. A complete diurnal cycle flying west to east is only 15 hours, so even though my flight was a little over a day (or just under half if you adjust for time zone changes), it sometimes felt like two.
Second sunset
I tried to sleep but I was too uncomfortable. Opening the window over Canada, I peered out into the night, trying to see which stars I could see. And I for the first time in my life I saw Orion the same way the ancients who named it saw it... not in a plane 35,000 feet in the air travelling at 900km/h... but the right way up! (except for that time when I stood on my head)
Orion
(Although the 'pot' is now upside down). After taking a long exposure photograph, I noticed strange green light - which seemed to be glowing from the high clouds. But as I watched them,  the clouds would change slowly, like a diluting fluid. This confirmed to me that this was the Aurora Borealis, my first Aurora.




Second sunrise
Finally, The sun rose for the second time over the Atlantic Ocean. Clouds covered most of Great Britain and Ireland, but London shone through on a beautiful Friday day.
The river
 For a city twice the population of Los Angeles, London to my eyes was the more beautiful. I was able to pick out some of the famous sights that I had only ever read about or seen in images, or heard in media, like the Royal Albert Hall where I had listened to the 2011 BBC Proms concerts on Radio New Zealand Concert.
Thames
I was very glad to be met at the airport by Ed, who was able to put us on a train bound for Leamington Spa, to see my sister, and start the next part of our adventure.

2 comments:

a-pastiche.com said...

beautiful pictures and i like a few of your sentences too. enjoy !

Tony B said...

great journal. look forward to reading more. hi to fran and jeremy
Have a wonderful trip!
Tony