One Day in Auckland, this Happened…
Missing out on seeing one of Auckland’s famous sights due to an alarming turn of events.
It was a gorgeous day in Auckland. The sky was blissfully blue, the temperature was an ideal temperature – not too cold, not too hot – and the extra crowds from New Year’s travels had mostly dissipated. Tom and I were on the last day of our two week trip to New Zealand – and our only day spent on the North Island.
After hiking, kayaking, biking, and too much driving, we were ready to spend the day doing nothing except our own personal Auckland pub crawl that took us from our hostel in Parnell to the harbor downtown. One of the excellent things about Auckland is all the restaurants and bars with al fresco seating and we were determined to make good use of them.
I was prepared to leave this ambiance, though, for a drink up in the Auckland Sky Tower, which has panoramic views of Auckland and the harbor and I was excited to have a drink there and take in the view. Tom had been there before and agreed it was cool and something everyone should do in Auckland.
So off we went, only to arrive to a crowd surrounding the Sky Tower with everyone’s faces turned upward. We peered through the crowd and saw policemen and squad cars blocking the street.
A helpful citizen saw our confused looks. “There’s a jumper on the Sky Tower,” he explained. He pointed. “See, he’s in orange.”
Tom and I squinted and sure enough, there was a speck of orange that could be seen very close to the edge of the rim of the Sky Tower.
“So does that mean the bar and restaurant is closed?” Tom asked.
“Yup, everyone who was up there got ushered out and their meals comped,” the guys said.
The speck of orange was now moving and pacing high above. I immediately felt a bit sick to my stomach and grabbed Tom’s arm and began pulling him away down the street in the opposite direction of the crowd and police.
“I am not ending my vacation watching some man end his life,” I urgently muttered to Tom as I quickly walked away.
Tom replied soothingly: “I’m sure he won’t jump. It’s probably just a cry for help.”
I frowned. “Well, just in case.” I thought for a moment and then frowned harder, a bit guiltily this time for the thought that just popped into my head, which I voiced to Tom. “Why did he have to pick today to decide to jump off the Sky Tower? What are the odds? I really want to go there!”
We headed back toward the harbor and found a new bar to drink at and have some snacks. We kept checking our phones for news updates and each time it said the man was still up there threatening to jump. My plan to go to the Sky Tower before darkness took over the city was quickly fading.
Eventually, as the sun was setting, we decided not to wait anymore and hopped in a cab to head back to Parnell to get some dinner.
“You guys have good timing,” the cab driver said cheerfully. “They just opened the street again so we can take the quick way there.”
“The street for the jumper?” I asked, wide-eyed, wondering what happened.
“Did he jump?” Tom asked.
“Oh, no. He finally came down about 15 minutes ago I heard. All’s good.”
Tom and I exchanged exasperated glances.
“Sure, now he comes down,” I grumbled, though glad the man didn’t jump to his death.
And, as often I say when a day in a city doesn’t go quite according to plan, I added: “Guess we’ll just have to come back to Auckland someday so we can go up in the Sky Tower!”
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