Sunday, August 31, 2014

Sunday: Melbourne -> Christchurch

Got up early after sleeping poorly because I was worried I might sleep in, and got picked up by the airport shuttle just after 6am. Had an uneventful flight to Christchurch, got through immigration and got my bag quickly, and then had a long wait (30 min?) to get through customs. Picked up my rental car and drove to my hotel, a very bright comfortable room in a building on the outskirts of the CBD (Central Business District, what they call the downtown core down under). Gig settled in and started thinking about my plans for the next day or two. I have a lot of driving to do the next two days, but in still want to see a few things (besides the scenery) along the way.

Had dinner (beef kebab with a Fat Yak pale ale, and baklava for dessert) just around the corner, and then went for a walk through part of what used to be the CBD.

Christchurch was hit with two major earthquakes in 2910 and 2011, and much of the downtown area was destroyed. I was expecting to see more of it rebuilt, but what I saw tonight was pretty post-apocalyptic. The street lights are all working and there is a bit of car traffic, but most of the buildings have either been razed or stand dark and empty. Some have stacks of shipping containers stacked in front of them. I'm not entirely clear what purpose those serve, perhaps storing contents of building while they get rebuilt? Here's one interesting development involving shipping containers to jump-start the revival of the area.

Overall, the place felt a bit depressing and creepy, and it's sad that it is taking so long to rebuild.

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