I read somewhere how someone said something like: “…don’t complain about air travel because you should be amazed and joyful, shocked and astounded, transcendent, even. You’re sitting on a chair and you’re going 600 miles an hour seven miles above the ocean and you’re having wine and watching a movie…”, or words to that affect. It’s an effing technological miracle.
6749 miraculous miles, to be more or less precise about it. The closer we get to our destination, the more our posse increases, topping out at eleven people including one Air New Zealand employee who tagged along with us in Auckland to make sure we got to the next flight.
New Zealanders are generous. Accepted wisdom says that to get acclimated to local time you’ve got to stay awake until local night. And I’m facing a rehearsal in three hours with about four hours’ sleep spread across the last thirty-six. I’m keeping the hotel room temperature cold and I’m not going near the bed. I take a walk in Wellington, where it goes from misty and warm to sunny with thirty mile an hour wind gusts in ten minutes.
Just behind the hotel is a large grave site bisected by a six lane thoroughfare necessitating the removal of about 3700 bodies in the early part of the 1960′s. There they all are, in that lightly marked, barely discernible rectangle of green grass (see photo above). The graveyard continues on up above the freeway, a riotous jungle of living green and carved stone, the rush of cars and the whine of cicadas, loud and disconcerting. I follow paths wet and empty, occasionally very steep. The hillside around the harbor has endless viewpoints. This is a beautiful place and the city does not detract.
I struggle to stay awake. I’m reminded sharply of how far I am from home.