Antipodes

The antipodes of any place on earth refers to the point on the earth’s surface that is diametrically opposed to it. That is, if you had a globe and you, voodoo-like, stuck a long knitting needle (sharpened chopstick, skewer or other similar object could also be used) into the globe at one point and directed it directly through the center of the earth and out the other side, the point where it would pop through would be the antipodes of the first point. Or similarly, if you could dive through the surface of the earth at one location and dig through all the layers of the earth, and swim through the hot molten magma at the earth’s core without being burned up then dig out through the other side, the location where you would emerge, dirty, tired and scalded would be the antipodes.

One would hope for whatever reason that the antipodes of Colorado Springs would have turned out to be Tauranga, New Zealand but if you dive straight down from Colorado Springs you come out, alas, somewhere in the middle of the Indian Ocean.

My mother and countless other parents were wrong. When I was six years old and digging a deep (three foot) hole in the backyard, she remarked, “Oh, it looks like you are digging all the way to China!”

I should have precociously replied, “Not exactly, mother, if my calculations are correct, I shall emerge somewhere in the Indian Ocean.”

As far as the antipodes of Tauranga, New Zealand, it turns out to be Jaén, Spain, a city also known as the World Capital of Olive Oil!

All this does serve to point out that you are in different hemisphere in New Zealand. And as I’m sure you are aware, the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere. Actually not reversed, that would mean winter, fall, summer, spring but rather they are out of phase with those in the Northern Hemisphere. That was the reason they were putting up Christmas decorations, reindeer and whatnot, on a sultry summer day in Invercargill on the South Island when we were there.

The first time we booked a flight to New Zealand, we used a travel agent since I had not yet grown comfortable about clicking a button on a computer screen which said ‘Buy Now’ when the sum was several thousand dollars. After making the reservation for a flight in November, the agent leaned forward and confided, “You do know it will be summer there when you go.”

“What! But our skis are already packed, and we had plans of sipping drinks overlooking the snow-covered Southern Alps! Summer!”

There has to have been at least one person, I mean statistically there must have been at least one dumb or impulsive person who flew all the way to New Zealand or another similar country in the Southern Hemisphere without realizing the seasons were opposite. Dumb as in, I knew I should have listened more carefully in Fourth-Grade Earth Sciences Class. Impulsive as in bipolar disorder on the upswing portion.

Also if Rebecca and I played this right, we could have two winters in a row, something to look forward to in a country that is known to be a bit chilly and also noted for its lack of heating in homes. Or like something out of Alice in Wonderland about taking days and nights two or three at a time, hence them being two or three times as warm and as cold.

The Red Queen said, “That’s a poor way of doing things. Now here, we mostly have days and nights two or three at a time, and sometimes in the winter we take as many as five nights together – for warmth, you know.”

“Are five nights warmer than one night, then?” Alice ventured to ask.

“Five times as warm, of course.”

“But they should be five times as cold, by the same rule – ”

“Just so!” cried the Red Queen. “Five times as warm, and five times as cold – just as I’m five times as rich as you are, and five times as clever!”

And so if we timed things right, we could take our winters two at a time and have them be twice as long and twice as cold.

 

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