Oct. 15, 2012 First day in Christchurch! We had an adjustment period realizing we were now on our own and needed to start structuring our days. We sprung for breakfast at Vic’s where I had the best homemade porridge with raisins, macadamia and pine nuts. I also put cream on it—talk about delicious! While there we talked to a couple at the next table, she was from the USA and was married to a Kiwi (NZ native). They provided us information on where to get groceries although it was interesting, she sent us to the supermarket; he gave us directions to the green grocers. We actually wanted to go to the green grocers but walked the wrong way. Anyway we got our crackers, pea boo, cheese and ginger crackers plus muffins and bagels. We decided after we finished touristing for the day we would return to Dorset house (our hostel) via the green grocer. Unfortunately, we did not remember to do it. We did, however, take an interesting tour through the Red Zone.
We had to sign a release of liability document stating that we understood debris might fall and crush us.
The Red Zone is the area that was decimated by the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. It is in the central city, an area with numerous historical buildings including the Canterbury cathedral. As of today over 900 buildings have been demolished with another 700 scheduled to be demolished.
Twinkle toes is a giant pincher crane which is moved from demolition site to demolition site in the city.
We watched it working on a vacant hotel, pinching sections of the building to get it to fall. Some of the restaurants still have white table cloths and dinnerware on the table. Our guide spoke of the horror of living through the noise and then the massive aftershocks. In fact, she said there have been over 10,000 aftershocks with the latest last week at 4.3. People on the tour cried when they saw the damage done to Christchurch cathedral.
It is unknown if it will be destroyed or not, the highest court in New Zealand will hear its case for preservation versus demolition. An interesting thing occurred here among retailers, since most of the stores were closed due to structural concerns, a new form of shop structure came into being—stores made out of containers. These containers are the kind used for trash in Texas. Here they are put side by side or stacked on top of each other, painted, and given a name and, presto, a store has opened.
These are in an area just outside of the Red Zone. Actually, the land was part of the zone but the buildings were leveled and new stores have sprung up! Lemonade has been made!