Surviving without light
Zhengzhou,12th November 2009
Still in Zhengzhou…it has continued to snow and we had to find ourselves a hotel for the night. Half way the evening it became clear that even the train option (a 12 hour journey back to Shanghai) was not possible as the highway back to the city had been closed as well. By that time the airport hotel was full and we had to go hunting for a hotel nearby. We managed to get one through the airport helpdesk, but on arrival it was pitch black! Major power failure…No lights!! We were deliberating what to do (whether to look for another hotel or stay put) and decided we would stay put with the chance of finding a hotel room becoming slimmer by the minute. At the reception we were received under extreme lighting conditions! A (cool white) LED torch and a (warm white) flickering candle …very airy ambiance. As I really needed to go to the toilet I was “LED” the way to the washroom but once inside, with the door ajar to capture a few mililux of light, had to roughly guess where the hole was! Anyhow we made it to our rooms and managed to catch some sleep under basic conditions. As I write this entry I am killing time and looking outside (thank god for daylight!) … it has kept on snowing overnight. The airport is at least closed till this afternoon and the highway is also still closed, so we are stuck! Good time to catch up on some work.
This whole experience has made me realize again how much we depend on artificial lighting in our daily lives! It brought up memories of an experience that I think every lighting designer should go through to appreciate light. That is to have a meal in a restaurant called “Dans le noir” (“In the dark”). It is a theme restaurant (I went to the one in London) where you dine in absolute darkness. You are guided to your table and served by blind people. For the rest you are on your own… filling your glass of wine, finding your cutlery, your plate and the challenge of getting the food from your plate into your mouth! As you can not see your food you it is left to your other senses to guess what you are eating. Part of the fun is to find out what you have been served! It is a good exercise in practicing your survival without light!
Note: Internet connections are scarce here and I am trying to use my colleague’s 3D wireless to send some emails and this entry to Singapore to be uploaded. I don’t know of last night entry was uploaded, so bear with me if there is some delay…