Ah, the South Pacific…conjures up images of white sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees, and warm blue waters. I’ve been on a few beach vacations to some great locations…Maui, Anguilla, Cancun. They were all very pretty. But nothing prepared me for our first foray into the South Pacific. After two years without a visit to the beach and 12 consecutive months without summer (we left London at the end of the northern winter and arrived in New Zealand at the start of the southern winter), we decided on Fiji as our beach vacation.
One of the great things about living in New Zealand are the dark skies. With very little light pollution, the stars are bright in the night sky. And one of the best places to see them is at Lake Tekapo, which is part of the gold-rated Aoraki Mackenzie International Dark Sky Reserve. And that is where we decided on our first Kiwi vacation.
At the top of my New Zealand to-do list was a visit Mt. Sunday. It was the site of Edoras in the Lord of The Rings movies, and the closest LOTR movie location to our place. So the third day after arriving, Aman and I piled into the car and made the 1-hour 20-minute drive up to the Southern Alps. Continue reading Muster the Rohirrim! A visit to Edoras (Mt. Sunday)
It was the sun that tipped me off. Something was off. According to the airplane “moving map”, we were flying east towards Christchurch, but the position of the sun outside the window suggested we were heading south. And then it hit me — we were in the Southern Hemisphere, meaning the sun stayed in the northern half of the sky. So the rising sun ahead of us and off the left side of the airplane meant we were indeed heading east. I’d spent all my life in the Northern Hemisphere and I’d used the sun being in the southern half of the sky to orient myself. But not anymore. Not for the next year or two, or three.