Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Eclipse hunting

It's a strange kind of trip where you don't know where you're going, but you know when - I mean by this that the destination is a time, and not specifically a place. My destination is some time around 10.30 am on Friday the first of August, at which point a swathe of land from Eastern China through Mongolia and Russia and up into Greenland and Canada will gradually become covered in darkness.

I've never had the chance to see an eclipse, other than through the dense clouds of a Cornwall morning, some time back in 1999, so I thought that I would take the opportunity to go eclipse hunting this time in a somewhat more exotic location. I say I don't know where I'm going because my trip is only half booked. Today at 5 pm I will take a train to Baoji, some 15 hours West, arriving tomorrow morning, at which point I will find an internet cafe, look at the weather forecasts for Friday and plan stage two.

Currently, as I mentioned before, my plan is to head to Pingliang, though the forecast at the moment is not looking great. My second best option may involve heading another 15 hours further North West, which is going to make coming back in time to catch my flight to Korea somewhat tricky, so I have to play this carefully. Unfortunately it's impossible to book train tickets more than five days in advance here, so I haven't even been able to secure a return trip from Baoji. This is rather crucial, as I will only have around 24 hours to play with!

So, that's the essence of my trip. The idea of seeing an eclipse from the top of a legendary mountain in a distant province in central China makes my head spin just thinking about it. I really hope that conditions are good on Friday, but whatever happens, I have an exciting, unknown trip ahead of me for the next few days...wish me luck!

2 comments:

toomanytribbles said...

i'll be tagging along... vicariously.

good luck!

casaubon said...

godspeed!