Welcome to Middle Earth

Walking through Auckland I found myself in a very otherwordly scene. Bizarre-looking trees, unusual light with the sunlight decidedly coming from the wrong direction, and an intriguing mix between old and new, provincial and metropolitan made for a place that not only was, but also seemed to be a very, very long way away from home.

People were extraordinarily friendly, stopping in the street whenever they saw me fumble with a map, asking how they could help me find what I was looking for. I’ve visited many places, but such proactive helpfulness I have rarely encountered. In fact it reached a level after a while where I found myself wondering whether I might have ended up in an alternative take of the Stepford Wives. But the local Aucklanders all were entirely genuine in their helpfulness. I suppose living in New York untrains you from friendly people ….

Took a walk through their “Domain”, Auckland’s equivalent to Prospect Park crossed with a walk on the wild side. Five steps into the park I found myself in midst of thick greenery one would usually expect to encounter deep in the bush. After working my way through the thickness of green I suddenly found myself thrust into a park landscape filled with strangely shaped trees one might associate with Middle Earth. The movie double for Middle Earth of course were parts of New Zealand …

After my excursion through the bush I ended up on top of Sky Tower, apparently the tallest building in the Southern hemisphere … higher than Sydney Tower, I was told, noticing a distinct tone of pride in the narrator’s voice. Be that as it may, the view was spectacular. Some nutters were bungy jumping from the tower … apparently you CAN have too little to do for your own good ….

Here are the pictures:

Auckland

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