Friday, July 23, 2010

East is east

Sometimes you have to go to a place just because of what it is and not necessarily because there's a lot to see or do there. The last time I did this was in India when I went to Kanyakumari because it was the southernmost tip of the country and a convergence of three waterways. That turned out to be not so great, so I was a bit hesitant about my latest plans for a special trip.

[As an aside, there were actually two potential special trips that I could choose from. The one I didn't pick was a trip to the place with the world's longest name: Taumatawhakatangihangakoauauotamateaturipukakapikimaungahoronukupokaiwhenuakitanatahu.]

The trip I did choose was to Gisborne which has the distinction of being the very first city to see the sunrise every day. If you're going to try to fact check me on this by Googling or looking at a map, you'll probably notice that there are other places farther east than Gisborne**, in particular the Chatham Islands, also part of New Zealand. I noticed the same thing and asked Sean about it when I was in Christchurch. His answer (and the one I'm going with, too) is that sure, there are other places east of Gisborne. But you wouldn't exactly call them "cities." With a population of about 35,000, Gisborne is a proper city, at least by NZ standards, and that was good enough for me. 

The bus ride from Wellington to Gisborne was a long one, about nine hours. It was rainy and gray the whole day and I was beginning to think that this special trip o' mine wasn't turning out to be such a good idea. After all, there are no spectacular sunrises on rainy days. But I'd checked the weather ahead of time and saw that it was supposed to clear up, so I just kept my fingers crossed.

I checked into the Flying Nun Backpackers, a former convent with heaps of character. (If I didn't already have a CS host lined up in Napier, my next stop, I'd stay at a place that used to be a prison as recently as 1993. Talk about character!) During a walk around the city in search of dinner, it didn't take me long to be glad that I was only staying one night in Gisborne; there was not much of anything to see or do. Before I went to bed, I looked out the window and saw that the skies were clearing up. My hopes for a photo-worthy sunrise looked promising. . .

And, well, not too shabby. I didn't have the absolute best vantage point because that would've required a car, so I made do with a 30 minute walk to the beach instead. My pictures are just so-so, not at all fabulous, but that's okay because the point was more about being able to say that I'd seen the first sunrise of the day, rather than photograph it. 

**In doing some fact checking of my own, Wikipedia has another explanation entirely, but I'm still gonna stick with what I already had.


  1. The funny thing is, the sun still hasn't risen here. Love ya!

  2. I think that first pic is fabulous. I love sunrises. I don't often see them :-) but thet are beautiful.