AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND: WHERE THE WRITER FINDS A LOVELY CITY BUILT ON VOLCANOES, PUBLICLY LISTED PHONE NUMBERS, AND MANY SIGNS TELLING HIM WHERE NOT TO LOOK FOR A LEGENDARY MOUNTAINEER’S HOME New Zealand’s largest city is all built on a huge volcanic field that was active as recently as 550 years ago or so and could theoretically blow up one day and be buried in a hellstorm of magma and rock. For the moment it’s beyond fine. The harbor is dotted with green islands and tour boats and is crossed by a wide-arched bridge tourists may bungee jump off for a fee. There is a bar district around the water where, on an extremely long and unusually perfect summer night, people sit on enormous white pillows lined up along the waterfront drinking wine and talking to each other. It seems like an insane luxury that no one seems to be looking at their phones, but it’s happening nonetheless. I ended up in boat-drunk summery Auckland because I wanted to figure out, 10 years after Sir Edmund Hillary’s death, how the first person to climb Mount Everest ever happened. I promise that is not as insane a question as it sounds,… Read full this story
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