I’ve pinned this post to stay at the top of my blog and have been jotting EQNZ thoughts into a single post. It also has some links to EQNZ info for readers (and me!).
I spent two nights in Christchurch before & after my cycle trip. Didn't go out of my way to see the quake impacts (seems ghoulish to do that) but just travelling around it's impossible to avoid. While the broken roads, fallen buildings are apparent it was the others things that I found more disturbing:
- Imagine being in a bar where somebody accidentally drops a glass, seeing most there flinch until they realise it wasn't another after shock?
- Stupid stuff like sticking your toothbrush under the tap then remembering should be using bottled water.
- Talking to a builder who had spent the week demolishing an elaborate brick fireplace & chimney he built only a couple of years ago.
- Seeing Army checkpoints to keep people out of “their city”.
- Talking to folks who travelled the world, chose to live in Christchurch and now can’t cope with living there
According to GeoNet there were a couple of 3.something's the first night I was there but didn't feel them. By the time the 5.1 aftershock happened, on the Sunday of Moonman weekend, we were up at Arthurs Pass and didn't notice anything.
I know Christchurch will recover, but it will be a different Christchurch. Who knows how long that will take, how many will decide they don’t want to be there?
My sister has gone back to Christchurch and, judging by a text tonight, is finding getting around the city frustrating. Her short commute is taking as long as my normal Auckland one! My niece is still here & enrolled in a local school until the Christchurch end is sorted.
It still seems strange to be heading there, while looking forward to the cycling & seeing a bunch of friends being a tourist in a broken city seems kind of wrong (even if it does help). I felt the same visiting New Orleans & that was two years after Katrina.
Everyone I’ve spoken to who has been to Christchurch says the reality isn’t at all conveyed by even the extensive media coverage. I guess in a few weeks will have a better idea myself once been there as I will be flying to Christchurch on the 19th. Seems a bit strange to go there for a holiday but it's only the start & finish the trip and means at least one Christchurch company is getting the income they anticipated & need.
Spent yesterday showing some visitors a little bit of Auckland. They were here for a longish stopover after cutting short a family visit to Christchurch. Although not impacted, their hosts place was ok, felt were "in the way" of letting their hosts help with the clean up.
More encouraging was getting this news regarding my bike trip which, although mainly on the West Coast/Nelson Region, is due to depart Christchurch in late March:
"As you will no doubt be aware Christchurch was struck by an earthquake on Tuesday. All Adventure South future departures are operational including your Returning Client Coast to Coast Cycle Tour and all other trips departing from the South Island."
After talking with my sister it's apparent without being there it's impossible to comprehend the reality. For me, although much closer to home in many ways, it's the same feeling as I had watching 9\11. You see, hear, and feel it but around you everyday life goes on. Bizarre.
I have heard that Adventure South Staff & Customers (on 10 tours currently running) are OK, details on their Facebook page link below. I’m hoping to see them again in late March for a trip in the West/North regions of South Island that was supposed to start in Christchurch. Obviously the detail of that itinerary may have to change. The banner is a shot of Christchurch from the Port Hills in 2007, from the most recent Adventure South trip I've done in the area and of the city I remember.
As far as I know my Family, Friends & immediate Colleagues in Christchurch are ok. TWL is a large (for NZ) company & unfortunately some staff members families were among the casualties & fatalities (see The Warehouse Limited link below for info). I can’t imagine what they are experiencing and can only wish them all the best in this sad time.
Personally, I have to thank all who’ve been touch, virtually, by phone & in person. Although we have family, friends & colleagues in Christchurch like many who read this I have mainly experienced the quake through media, social & traditional, and a few short phone calls. As advised by Civil Defence & phone companies most of our family communication has been via text to Christchurch or phone amongst family outside the area.
This will change tomorrow as my sister & niece are flying up to Auckland, thanks Air New Zealand for finding extra planes/seats/crew, to stay for a while. I just found out my Dad & Stepmom have some of her Hawaii based relatives staying who were on their way to start University at Lincoln, near Christchurch. They left expecting to arrive on Tuesday, transfer to a domestic flight to Christchurch and start the academic year. Almost while in the air their destination & journey changed dramatically.
Thanks to all those who have provided services, communication & transport to help the people of Christchurch cope with, or escape, this disaster. It’s early days & just the start of a long journey to recovery. If you need info, or can help: