Partial Eclipse of the Sun (in which you’re treated to a lot of pictures)
A couple of weeks ago, much of the Eastern Hemisphere was treated to a solar eclipse. It’s nice of the universe to give something back to us every once in a while.
So the evening before this was to take place, I, along with my dear hostel buddies Karen and Brenda, decided to wake up early (for us), make our way over to the beach on Cijin Island, and watch the solar eclipse from the beach. (Karen, by the way, is the British lass who was my partner in crime for the World Games. She’s actually been traveling Asia for 18 months now and has some fascinating tales and amazing pictures. If you want to procrastinate some more, and I highly suggest you do, go visit her blog: http://karenstraveladventure.blogspot.com.)
So at 7 am we set out, stopped off for some coffee at the Family Mart, took the MRT down to Sizihwan, hopped the fairy to Cijin Island, and walked up a couple of sleepy streets until we reached the beach. The eclipse happened slowly, as eclipses will tend to do. Karen said that the perfect view – like where you can see the moon gets positioned perfectly right in front of the sun – was in Eastern China. Well, that’s really not so far away, so we expected something magnificent.
And maybe we got it. I’m not sure. Despite what most of you may think, I am not an expert on eclipses. I had no idea that it was advisable to have a little instrument to view an eclipse. Although, in hindsight that makes a lot of sense, since looking directly into the sun is a painful and inadvisable practice, even when it is partially covered by the moon. What we had were two pairs of sunglasses (Karen’s and mine), and we doublestacked those bad boys and stared directly at the eclipse one at a time. We were able to see the moon slooooowly creeping across the sun, but it was by no means a total eclipse. I think the best we saw was the moon covering the sun between 9 and 5 o’clock. But even then, the sun was too bright to really tell what was happening without using those little instruments or doublestacked sunglasses.
But an eclipse to some degree definitely happened. For about 30 minutes, there was a slight loss of sunlight and a definite drop in temperature. That was surreal.
Despite our slight disappointment with the universe, we were still at the beach. (Have I mentioned that I freaking love living by the beach? It fills me with happiness.) Karen and I played in the ocean for a bit, and I was able to reduce the severity of my farmer’s tan by the slightest of measures. We finally left the beach around 9:30 and happened upon a coconut stand. The man there was hacking up the coconuts and bottling the juice. Or, if you pleased, he’d plunk a couple of straws directly in the coconut. This excited us very much and we were all to happy to take him up on his offer.
After we finished with the coconut, we headed back toward the ferry. But while we’d been at the beach, the sleepy streets we’d walked up earlier had awakened, and a bustling marketplace had emerged. We poked around, and Karen and Brenda bought some fruit that we later feasted upon.
That was our eclipse morning, and it was glorious. There are some definite rewards here for waking up early, and I intend to find them often.
After the jump, please peruse an extensive photo gallery, including pictures of the beach, coconuts, and markets! Enjoy!