Well I finally made it to NZ, despite nerves and all the other stuff that happens just before you go away.
My lack of phone access was quickly solved at Christchurch Airport when I spotted a Vodafone kiosk in the arrivals terminal. I bought a prepaid kit and phone that is so basic. It makes me laugh when I think this was all we used to have years ago. So I have no internet access unless the hotels offer it. Which obviously the hotel I’m staying at tonight does.
Christchurch was very stable for the first 6 or so hours after my arrival. Then the earthquakes/tremors began. And kept going. And going. During my first night here I felt 5 tremors and 1 proper quake. The quake has been reported on the news all over the world (I know this because the hotel has Sky news in the rooms). Within half an hour of it waking me up I was hearing about it on British Sky news. It happened at 5.45am 2nd January and Mum has since told me there were approx 27 tremors between then at midday that day. It’s fair to say by then I was already sick of it. The people of Christchurch are amazing, stoic people. They don’t even talk about it. But they are always reassuring us tourists that the quakes are happening all the time and they just get on with life. I know they are fed up though.
I ate dinner by myself in the restaurant of the Heartland Cotswold Hotel . It was a delicious Chef’s Chicken Dinner. Bacon wrapped chicken with a cucumber salad and pesto. Unfortunately I forgot to take my camera to take a photo.
The next morning I went to breakfast in the hotel. At the airport, soon after arriving, I met Carol and her two kids Rebecca (17) and Brad (15). We got chatting and realized we were staying at the same hotel and doing the same tour. The next morning at breakfast they asked if I would like to join them so I didn’t have to sit by myself. That was so kind of them. Ever since we have eaten breakfasts and dinners together. I think Brad is still having trouble believing I take photos of all my dinners lol.
I decided to take it easy that day and rest. I did go for two walks though. The first one was headed towards the red zone. You really can’t avoid it unfortunately. From Hagley Park I could see some of the cyclone fencing. It was amazing to see so many buildings evacuated and now facing demolition when they are allowed. Apparently there are still around 650 buildings to be demolished, including houses. In one building I saw furniture sticking out of an open window exactly as it fell during the earthquake in February 2011. Another apartment building looks fine from a distance. However the front of the building on one side is no longer there.