Humour Not Lost
On the side of a damaged building in the city. It is good to see a positive outlook in spite of the problems.
We finally returned to Christchurch, spending our last campervan night on a local campsite. Interestingly there were quite a few people using it at their permanent accommodation. I didn’t like to ask whether this was as a result of being displaced by the earthquake, or whether it was their normal home, but apparently there are many people still displaced from their homes.
After packing our bags and cleaning the Campervan, we dropped our bags at Dorset House and returned the campervan to the depot. The campervan was with Apollo/Cheapa Campers, and I expected to get an instant refund of my $2700 security deposit, but it was explained that the refund was processed at their head office in OZ and may take up to 10 days to do that. Shocking that they hang on to your money unnecessarily –spoiled what was an OK experience with Apollo/Cheapa Campers. Renters be aware. But never mind - onto Christchurch!
As walking was our current mode of transport, we decided to split our time between three locations, the Botanic Gardens, the Museum and the city centre (as close as we could get to
Edging the city near the Botanic Gardens
The Botanic Gardens were large, airy and really good, especially since it is the very end of autumn here. Plants and trees were well labelled, and the general impression was one of a well cared for gardens – well done Christchurch. As we were walking through the gardens we heard the fearsome Haka being shouted out. Was it some sort of rebellion, I wondered, but no, it turned out to be the start of a Rugby match in the adjacent rugby grounds. Obviously the Haka is not just performed by the All Blacks. Fascinating when heard in the flesh – stirring in the way the Scottish bagpipes can be.
We moved on to the museum, only to find it closed until its structural integrity against earthquakes was checked out. Sad, but it shows how an earthquake that happened over 18 months ago still impacts the psychology of running of the city. Better safe than sorry I suppose. Moving on to our third activity, we decided to have a walk around the city as far as we were able, to see the state of play of rebuilding the city after the quake. I naively
Eh by gum tree
In the Botanic Gardens
thought it would have been all sorted by now, but apparently it will take years to put right. This will put a new perspective on my understanding of the suffering and problems of peoples I see in any future earthquakes around the world. Of those locals that I asked, they stated some people moved away, but the majority of those remaining took a philosophical approach to the future, whatever will be will be. They still have aftershocks, there being three in the 16 day period we were in the south island, one being 5.2 on the Richter scale! Many buildings still showed signs of destruction, especially churches. Much demolition was still going on, clearing the way for new build – it is good they have a forward looking approach – good luck to them.
After our tour of the city, we returned to Dorset House to chill out, as we had an early start in the morning - off to Wellington via bus and ferry. Flying was a bit cheaper, but did not provide the potential for sightseeing along the way. - And so to bed for an early rise for our journey to Wellington.
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