Hamilton: Zuru Glow


Two months ago, I had my first solo driving trip. I had just acquired a new license and I wanted to celebrate. I drove to Hamilton for Balloons over Waikato’s Zuru Glow night . In hindsight, it is amusing that I drove to the same city I went three years ago when I had just moved to New Zealand.

I wanted to attend Balloons over Waikato ever since I first heard about it. As I was thinking of where to drive, I saw the event again in my feed. I wanted to see these massive balloons float over us ground, slowly becoming dots of light against the night sky.


The balloons never left the ground. They were inflated as the day turned to dusk. Bursts of fire bellowing & heating the air trapped underneath a seemingly thin layer of cloth made the balloons swell and look gorgeous.

There was a Darth Vader face mask Hot-air Balloon. I think it was their main attraction as they used Darth Vader’s voice to announce the beginning of the Zuru Glow Night show. There animal shaped balloons and simple balloons too. The brighter the color of the balloon, the better they looked in the night.

Fire from the balloons was enough to brighten the entire event ground. In addition, they installed pyro and as music blasted from the speakers, pyro bursts out fountains of fire in sync with the music. They closed the show with spectacular laser light show.  


Slow mo of the show that I captured

There were some really great things about the trip. I realized how tiring driving can be and it is totally not how it is depicted. I loved visiting an old style carnival. While driving back, I got to enjoy driving on straight roads with no traffic.

The best thing about the event, aside from obviously the Glow show was the public transport. No stay with me on this one.

Hamilton & the event organizers did a great job. There were free buses from different areas of the city to the event location. You can take the same bus back for free. The services kept running until all of the people had left the grounds. A bus every minute.

It also speaks volumes about the number of people attending that it took me about 3 podcast episodes ( ~ 1 hour ) to board a bus. I didn’t mind, it surely beat driving back.

Also, when I left, we would still see heaps of cars still stuck in traffic as we whooshed past them. The organizers ( city council? ) had cordoned off the flush medium of the road to be a bus lane for that day. Another good call.

Will I go again? Absolutely.

Short Story: Bliss


Inspired by: RadioLab episode Bliss. Just listen to the first ~10 mins of it and smile.

You can listen to the entire episode if you want, it is one of my favorties.

She didn’t want to look at her scores. She knew she was going to pass her exams. But she didn’t want to look at her scores and be… disappointed.

She has studied hard, everyone has always said she could score at the top of the class if she tried hard enough. She did try hard, every time. And every single time she came up short.

She should be happy with her scores, but she isn’t. Her friends are happier after scraping through the exams. But she was chasing a grade that she hasn’t achieved yet. And nothing below it would ever be sufficient.

She studied in the library to distract herself from everyone else looking at their scores. She had her phone turned off so that no one would message her. She would wait until the school is almost deserted to look at her scores.

She realized, she can’t try to explain it to her friends why her grades aren’t good enough. She doesn’t want to put up a happy face for others.

The day passed excruciatingly. She was restless, her legs fidgeting and her eyes darting to her turned off phone. She was almost there.

It was one hour before the decided time but she goes for it anyway. There are some students in the school but she walks past them in a hurry.

Scoreboard. Her name is alphabetically in the middle.

And…

‘WOOOOOOOO!!!!!!’ she shouts raising her hands in the air and jumps. She whoops some more, throws her bag off and turns her phone on.

‘WOOOOOO!!!!’ she screams again. She doesn’t realize but she is grinning ear to ear. Someone behind her claps.

She typed in her phone.

‘I GOT IT!!!!!’.

This time, all of her friends join in her excitement.