After a horrendously long coach journey, we arrived in Christchurch. We had been told by most of the people that had been there that due to the earth quake there still wasn’t an awful lot to do there but it’s still worth seeing, so we only gave ourselves two days here. We had also pre-booked our accommodation separately from the kiwi bus as we were told it gets very booked up, so we were dropped off last.
By the time we had checked in and got ourselves sorted it was early evening so charlie and I decided to go check out the westfields they had to get some dinner and possibly see a movie. Of course we forgot that we were in NZ and not England, so when we got there pretty much everything was shut apart from one lonesome English themed pub. We had already arranged to meet up with dustin and as we hadn’t eaten we had no choice but to go into the English pub. After we had eaten we decided to go watch some film no one had heard of as there wasn’t a whole lot else to do and it was still pretty early. The film was surprisingly much better than any of us expected! In the cab ride home I couldn’t help but feel christchurch had a bit of an eery feel to it, as I had been asleep for most of the drive up here I had missed out on seeing a lot of the destruction that sadly still takes over most of Christchurch. So driving around it at night, it felt like a ghost town, partly because nearly everything closes at 5pm so there arnt many people around at night, but also because at night when it’s lit up parts of the destruction looks like something from a zombie film, sections of the street are fine and then you turn a corner and there is just half a building surrounded by rubble, it’s very sad.
The next morning we wanted to get out and see some of Christchurch. The lady at reception was very helpful and gave us a whole list of stuff to do. We started off at a memorial that I had been told to go and see. It’s situated where an old church used to be. Huge parts of the church were ruined during the earth quake and so the rest of the building was knocked down a few months later. An artist decided to creat the memorial here and has put out a white chair for every person that was killed during the quake. There is also a makeshift staple at the back that holds a list of all the names of the people that died along with there ages and where they were from. It was very moving. The artist had clearly chosen chairs to try and represent the people as there were baby seats, rocking chairs, wheel chairs, everything you could think of.
We met up with dustin here and decided to walk through the red zone, which is the area still cornered off due to the destruction, but parts are open to walk through, to the re-start centre. The re-start centre is very cool. It’s a shopping mall that was created soon after the earth quake hit but as they had little resources all the stores are made from shipping containers. Also within the mall is the quake live museum. It’s an interactive museum all about the earth quake, how it happened, how it affected different areas and what they are planning on doing with the rest of the city. It also has a very moving section that has testimonies of different peoples personal accounts of what happened to them during the quake. It’s very cool to see what they are planning on doing to the city in the future as its almost like being able to create a city from scratch as most of the remaining buildings are to be knocked down.
Once we were done at the re-start centre we decided to head back over to westfields for an early dinner and to go to the cinema AGAIN! We went to see OZ this time which was ok but a little disappointing. Then the 3 of us decided to walk back to our hostels as it wasn’t too late and we didn’t have any change for the bus! As soon as we set off it started raining but we didn’t have much choice so we carried on. Dustin came back to our hostel for a couple of drinks before heading back as he had a very early start the next day.
The next morning charlie and I headed back up to Auckland to spend the night before setting off to Thailand!!