England’s loss to the All Blacks on Saturday reminded me of an email I sent over a year ago from New Zealand, detailing my adventures on the day after the Lions first crushing defeat of their tour. I’ve posted it here for posterity…
Sunday 26th June 2005
Hi Guys! Only me. I know what you’re thinking; “Oh No, it’s that boring bloke on the other side of the world with another email the length of my arm rambling and ranting about rubbish…”. Don’t worry this one’s shorter (maybe) but definitely has more pictures.
The Skytower: Auckland’s newest landmark and the tallest human-made structure in the Southern Hemisphere (does that make it the shortest in the Northern Hemisphere?). The Skytower is your point of reference for navigating this city, you can see it from pretty much everywhere and it always seems to be lurking in the background somewhere. Look at the first pic of the University of Auckland Clock Tower.
Quite nice eh? But there’s the Skytower loitering in the background trying to steal some of the limelight. And then here’s me, an honest Geographer trying to improve my botanical knowledge of the local flora and there’s the lanky thing looming in the wings again.
So nursing my Sunday hangover (I had a lot of sorrows to drown on Saturday evening – but let’s not talk about the Rugby, I’ve heard enough already) and seeing from under the covers that it was a nice day I thought I’d go and see what the view was like. As with all really-tall-landmarks-in-big-cities-that-you-have-to-go-up-to-see-what-the-view-is-like, and because you’re always noting it from afar, when you get to the bottom you HAVE to look UP. Case in point;
As you’ve paid your money and climbed all the way to the top (well actually you took the lift didn’t you?) you may as well check out the view. A prime here, as Auckland’s Harbour bridge basks in the evening sun and a flotilla of sailing boats bob in the foreground (Auckland is the “city of sails” doncha know?). Very pretty.
Then you think, “Doesn’t Auckland sprawl an awful lot” (sorry to go on about it). The harbour’s nice, you can see for miles ‘cos its a nice day and you can see a couple of old volcanoes hanging out in the background. Then you start daydreaming ‘cos you really can’t think straight after last night and you try to take some fancy reflexive-type photos to reflect how really spaced out everything feels. But there’s something missing…
So in the lift on way back down I got chatting to the girl who clearly saw my photographic prowes when she asked me to take her photo with Auckland as backdrop (“OK, where’s the loser wandering aimlessly around in a daze and won’t mind taking my photo” she was more likely to be thinking to herself; she knew she’d struck gold when she saw me). She asked me what I thought of the view; the sound of cogs grinding echoed around the lift as I struggled to string a sentence together (we really did play badly didn’t we? But those sorrows didn’t have an chance even in the “city of sails” and its many life-bouys). And then it dawned. It’s a good view from the top. Auckland looks nice in the sunset on a nice day. And the city-scape at night is cool.
But the thing that is missing is the thing you’re stood in. The Skytower is nowhere to be seen and you’re free of that feeling that there’s someone looking over your shoulder. At least that’s what I thought. I’m not sure what the noises coming out of my mouth sounded like…