Thursday, 30 August 2007

Red Moon

I had a plan. Loren meets me at the cable car station after work. We have dinner at the Hari Krishna buffet-style place a block away. We take the cable car back up to the botanic gardens and wander around watching the eclipse.

Well, I woke up that morning and checked the weather report. Clouds all day, rain in the evening. Well crap. I figured that pretty much ruled out eclipse-watching but we could still have a nice dinner out on the town.

Eight PM is when I get off work, and also the when the eclipse is due to start. It's not raining. It's a bit misty but I can see the full moon just fine. I pause to inspect the moon for signs of the impending eclipse. I can't tell if it's starting yet, or if it's just my imagination. Loren meets me at the cable car station, we head to the restaurant but it's closed. So we wander down Lambton Quay - this is Wellington CBD, the central business district, and most shops are closed at this hour. We make our way toward Cuba Street, and then we spot Hell Pizza: perfect! One double chicken-camenbert-cranberry pizza please, and a Greek salad. It's Tuesday night. The dinning/bar area is nearly empty, we snag a comfy leather couch by the fire no problem. I take a look at the ad campaign posters on the wall. One has an evil-looking red devil with horns and says "better the devil you know...." Another has a picture of a condom wrapper that's ripped open to reveal a pizza inside. The logo on the wrapper says "lust." It's for their meat-lovers pizza. I ask Loren if he thinks this place would work in the states. He thinks not. Even a few New Zealanders thought the Hitler ad was taking things too far.

By the time we finish dinner and get back out onto the street the eclipse is well under way. The shadow has crept more than halfway up the moon, and a red tinge is starting to set in. We wander towards the water and find ourselves in civic square. We weren't the only ones with this idea. Groups of twos and threes and wandering along the Sea to City Bridge, or just finding a nice spot to sit and settle in to watch the show. We can hear drumming coming from somewhere... it's a drum circle that's formed at a grassy spot near the bridge. Its cold and the wind is blowing the chill right through our clothes... we decide to keep walking along the waterfront. We pause outside Mac's Brewery. The place isn't very busy, but there's a decent number of folks hanging out at the tables outside, having a pint and keeping an eye on the moon. Someone's set up a telescope on one of the tables and they're taking turns having a look. That's when I remember I brought my binoculars. The moon is definitely red now, and getting close to fully shadowed. We both take a look and then continue on home: we weren't prepared for a night this cold.

We get back home and quickly bundle up and head back out. There's just a tiny sliver of bright moon left. We make it to the end of the block and then the clouds roll in. Before we know it the moon has vanished and the sky is filling up with dark clouds. It's probably for the best because it's my bed time. I just feel lucky to have seen as much of the the eclipse as I did. And in the way that we did - walking around Wellington, every one we pass sharing in this amazing experience. It is impossible not to feel a sense of wonder on a night like this.

No, I didn't take any pictures.But the folks at Wellington Night Shots on Flickr took some

1 comment:

Dawn said...

How awesome is this city, that you can be in the heart of it and still see something like the eclipse? Incredible. :)