Post 10: Up in the Long White Cloud

Every day in Auckland was an opportunity for a wonderful outing, easily accessed by public transport.  Commercial ventures were rather expensive, but there were many walks to do at no charge, many (48) volcanic cones to climb if one was so inclined, and many parks to visit.

The Sky Tower is almost always there in view, whether from Rangitoto, Mt Eden, One Tree Hill (another One Tree Hill… and this time without a tree, since it was cut down by a vandal….), Albert Park, Devonport, Birkenhead.

Sky Tower – from various sides

As with Cape Town’s Table Mountain, the Sky Tower tells you where you are.  And if you see the view below, you are there.  And a couple of times, I DID go there.

Under the Sky Tower

As soon as someone thought of building a 328 m high tower, they thought of making money from it.  In an effort to use our free coupon for a buy-one-get-one-free deal worth $28, T and I paid $11 for parking.  However that day, the tower was in the clouds, so we decided not to continue up to the top anyway.  It was a day very much like this:

I ended up going up in the Sky Tower later with my ex-Harare friend Dawn, and it was wonderful to reconnect over lunch after so many years.  I think our previous lives were very staid compared to being up in the clouds, though.

More adrenalin than I needed without even stepping outside the tower

It felt remarkably precarious being so high up, with a clear view to the ground so many hundreds of metres away.  The top of the tower can apparently sway 1 metre in the wind if it’s very strong, and I could almost feel it… or perhaps that was me swaying.  I was shocked  to see this sign:

That no-floor sensation

It wasn’t as reassuring as they had planned – it immediately made me feel nervous about the non-glass floor.  After all, how can one expect a 38 mm thick lid of concrete stuck round a pillar to stay up in the air?

But worse was to come.  At least three times in our visit, one or other dangling figure appeared outside the windows (yes, I said outside) and then vanished from view, hoping to end up on that little red target some way below.  RED, such a useful colour, no?

Fly in the spider’s web

….a long way down to the landing zone

You might like to watch a You Tube video of someone called Steve, though in the end the video didn’t really give the sense of someone falling at 85 kph for 11 seconds, if one is still watching after the agonising few minutes of getting ready to jump.

I had had a dream the night before we went up the Sky Tower about the lift crashing to the ground, killing all aboard.  We made it up safely.  We made it down safely.  On the way down, there was a young kindergartner with us acting out something from TV as we went down, looking through the glass bottom of the lift and calling out, “Argh, I’m going to die, di-i-i-i-eeeeee….” until he got fascinated with the counter-weight (his observation, not mine).  We were so taken with him that we forgot to open the lift doors at the bottom, and the lift rose with us for another attempt.

Evidently nothing happened to us.  Sometimes a story has no punch line.

Thank goodness.


About jaqinoz

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