Christchurch is beautiful! Unlike the rainy weather yesterday, today it’s clear blue skies with a crisp sea breeze and snow-capped mountains in the background. The main city square and several suburbs were damaged during the major earthquake on February 22, 2011 and earthquakes June – July 2011 and September 2010.
Christchurch is almost a ghost town now and people are not allowed in certain areas for fear buildings might crumble. The rebuild estimate is 15 years and many people moved away to flat areas where there are no mountains or foothills.
My bed and breakfast is in an area outside Christchurch called Sumner. It reminds me of Sausalito with houses built on steep hills and the little town below along the water.
During the earthquake many houses in Sumner were damaged severely when huge rock boulders rained down on them from the hills above. A wall of cargo shipping containers lines the highway to protect cars from falling boulders and rocks. People who lived in damaged houses in the hills are not allowed to return – it’s too dangerous. The plan is to demolish everything (including contents) and rebuild.
On the brighter side, November is horse racing month in New Zealand and people travel all over the world for the famous races and celebration. It’s a festive time.
A note to anyone using a taxi in Christchurch – the meter begins from the time you call to order a car – not from the time you sit down inside – same as many European cities. With all the closed roads and detours after the earthquake – getting anywhere can be a tricky adventure!