It was time for the pre-Christmas Facebook Conspiracy Cycle Tour & I flew to Christchurch on Saturday. I took the opportunity to have a look at Christchurch Central, a short walk from the motel. It was perfect sunny weather, pleasant for walking, but I found the city sobering. On previous visits the Red Zone was closed, or I didn’t have free time, so hadn’t seen the post-quake devastation up close.
I happened upon the demolition of the Radio New Zealand building. Strange to see a fairly modern, outwardly OK looking, building being crunched up. The machinery looked almost prehistoric as powerful jaws cut through concrete, steel and glass. Anther dusty temporary car park in the making?
Next I stumbled upon the Re:Start Mall. I must admit it was smaller than expected but it was busy. With the bright colours and innovative architecture it truly is the heart of the New Christchurch Central. I hadn’t eaten much and found some nice Japanese chicken & rice in the food area with a fresh strawberry ice cream to finish. Nom nom!
I carried on walking in a loop around the surrounding city streets. Even on a brilliant sunny day it was depressing to see the extent of the demolition. Stacked shipping containers buttress some facades, presumably in an attempt to preserve them?
After a while I couldn’t really take any more and headed back to the motel via Hagley Park & Botanic Gardens. They are a cool green oasis in the chaos. The sculpture (below right) is supposed to be like that. Sad that so many other structures in Christchurch have attempted to match its twisted geometry. It was windy making the model yacht fleet racing on Victoria Lake challenging. I saw a few collisions!
Dinner that evening was the first chance to meet most of the group, who were arriving from NZ, U.K., Canada & Australia. This was an all returning client trip, testimony to the Adventure South experience. It was good to see some familiar faces again (several from the Northland trip earlier in 2012) and meet some new. Although not part of the trip, which officially kicked off on Sunday, after a walk along North Beach Guide Bas rustled up some fine Indian food at his home. A nice start to the week ahead.