It still feels like yesterday when my friends and I were practically crafting a brand new life on our own for two weeks in a foreign land. It makes me want to jet-set somewhere all over again.
Anyway, I shan’t ramble on – and get to the main point.
A plus about having people sleeping in the same room as you is, the opportunity to hold conversations while you’re not yet sleepy until you eventually drift off to sleep.
Only that the conversations being held are occasionally … not verbal. Rather, certain body parts will converse with one another by emitting strange bodily function noises.
Think stomachs growling and arseholes farting. Yes, these were the two causes of the usual midnight hysterics … at least for the two girls.
The only guy suffered. As usual.
The above comic strip was hastily drawn on board the plane en route back to Singapore from Shanghai last week. It is one comic strip that actually transcended through half the Asian continent and the Pacific Ocean … and turbulence as well. Ooh, the excitement.
The weather on eclipse day was dark and gloomy. It was overcast, with the clouds threatening to burst with rain any moment.
Despite escaping the rain belt in Shanghai which was threatening to ruin eclipse viewing, it still dealt us a glancing blow in Yangshan. (The latter supposedly to be the best observation area in China.) As a result of the clouds, I only managed to witness less than 15% of the eclipse in progress.
The clouds broke every now and then to provide me with glimpses (and photo opportunities) of the eclipse.
About 40% obscured at 9.09 A.M.
I am however, slightly miffed that I didn’t get to see the eclipse during totality. An extremely thick bunch of clouds decided to move in at the last minute (and it wasn’t as if there weren’t enough clouds to begin with) and thus the majestic sun corona was completely obscured from view despite the sheer length of totality.
The atmosphere was terrific, though!
I was amongst a whole flock of avid eclipse chasers with really bizarre, advanced equipment which made me really envious.
However, the weather was so bad that it was really beginning to look as if I’ve flown all the way here for nothing. It made me grouch for a while. Then, a gap suddenly appeared in the clouds and everyone started screaming with joy. (That was when I captured the above photo.)
To put it in my dad’s words – “This is one eclipse that will really make you shit in your pants.”
The rest of the eclipse viewing was erratic. I was staring at a patch of grey clouds for most of the duration, occasionally sitting up, alert when I spot a potential patch of cloud-free sky heading in my direction. The fact that there were so many people around with the same goal, and looking out for the same thing felt … good. It was as if we were all united against one enemy – the clouds.
I spent most of the time just sitting around and soaking up the atmosphere.
The period of totality was especially amazing despite not being able to see the sun. It suddenly became extremely dark (and rather eerie) really quickly, and I was surrounded with cheers and shrieks of delight.
The period of darkness lasted for slightly more than five minutes before light soon flooded the area again. Bloody awesome feeling, really.
I am really happy we made the decision to drive down to Yangshan for the eclipse. Based on what I’ve heard (and seen in the news), it was raining heavily in Shanghai throughout the eclipse duration and hardly anyone managed to even catch a glimpse of it.
More photos within. ;)
Standby and counting … less than 10 hours to the eclipse.
For the benefit of my fellow sky-watchers who have scooted all the way to Shanghai for this once-in-a-lifetime phenomena (a total solar eclipse that lasts almost 6 minutes during totality is definitely a big deal!), here are some timings to take note of:
First contact: 08:23 (Start of eclipse)
Second contact: 09:36 (Beginning of totality)
Third contact: 09:42 (End of totality)
Fourth contact: 11:01 (End of eclipse)
All timings stated are Shanghai local time (GMT +8).
I’ve finally gotten the chance to test out the makeshift solar filter (made from filter film) on my DSLR yesterday evening when the sun peeked out from the (rather overcast) sky.
Pointed the camera directly at the sun and obtained the following result. (Warning: Do not try this at home unless you have a solar filter or filter film safely protecting your lens! You do not want to risk damaging your camera and your eyes.)
The sun through my filter and lens.
I am presently in the midst of packing a duffel bag for tomorrow’s road trip. Will be heading further south from the city to catch the eclipse as meteorologists had forecasted bad weather in Shanghai tomorrow morning. I believe more than half of the eclipse-watchers here will be doing the same thing and thus we’d be setting off early … at 5.30 A.M.
The sky is still pretty overcast right now and it rained quite a few times today. It’s quite depressing really, although I am keeping my fingers crossed for clear weather during the eclipse.
Meanwhile, packing awaits!
Excitement is mounting. Oh, woweeeeeeeee!