Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The Middle of Middle Earth

Dec. 27, 2012

I’m not sure if New Zealand is riding the Hobbit movie hype, or if everyone here just has a quirky sense of humor.

The welcome sign on the Wellington International Airport says “Welcome to the Middle of Middle Earth” – in a Celtic font, reminiscent of the Book of Kells.

The jetway onto the Air New Zealand planes is papered to look like one is walking through a Hobbit Hole and out into Middle Earth.
The safety film on the plane features some of the Hobbit characters, along with flight attendants and crew dressed as characters from the movies.  It really is very funny, with hobbits and elven queens and Gollum turning out the lights.

And then, of course, there’s the baggage claim area – again, Hobbit characters, Hobbit scenery, and probably the most decorated baggage claim belt I’ve ever seen.

Not that we were on an unexpected journey – no, we had pre-booked our flight for Christmas Day, which is a great day for travel – not too crowded, airline crew were wearing various holiday hats (Santa hats, reindeer ears, elf beanies) – and everyone was happy to be either traveling to celebrations, or happy to be earning overtime for working the holiday.

No, we were just a bit surprised by the Hobbit Mania.  Because everyone knows that hobbits, while quite brave, are also a bit shy and reticent about taking center stage.  Which, of course, is why they live in hobbit holes, in the middle of Middle Earth.

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