The final day of our wonderful roundtrip, we will leave tomorrow. We are a bit sad, we really felt good in New Zealand. The weather corresponds to our feelings, it changes between clouds and rain.
As we are now staying near Christchurch we of course want to make a short detour downtown. Gernots mobile phone helps us, we easily find the way. And then – horror and grief. A large part of the cities center has just disappeared, quaked away. They always talk about the big earthquake in February 2011, the many smaller quakes afterwards do not find their way into the international press. A local woman tells us the number of aftershocks meanwhile rises to nearly 13.000. You can’t always report that, it will get boring. The number of people living in the metropolitan region of Christchurch decreases; a lot of people cannot stand this perpetual risk any more.
The epicenter of the earthquake indeed seems to be situated directly underneath downtown Christchurch. We see everything from meanwhile cleared-off open areas to heap of ruins in their original state to buildings in any possible degree of destruction. The whole area is blocked extensively, they still have to blast houses from time to time.
This is one side of Christchurch today, the other one gives hope. A former shopping street already invites people to stroll along. They arrangend some containers to provisionally house the shops in. There is a department store, cafés, smaller shops, everything painted in bright colours. Something is going on in Christchurch, the project is called Re:START. Plans hanging out show the future, everything is going to be much prettier, with green areas and earthquake-proof buildings. Project hope, we keep our fingers crossed.
Afterwards it is time to pack our suitcases. Where do all these things come from, how are we supposed to get everything home? On our flight here we had one piece of baggage each to bring on board (with my rucksack nearly empty) and one piece to register. Both bags we registered had a weight of 32 kg combined. Now we also need the cool bag we bought on our first day here to pack all our things (three pieces of luggage to register the next day is 45 kg all in all, we are lucky nobody complains; then another 10 kg for both of us to carry – oh dear!).
Actually we had planned to go out for dinner for the last time on our journey. We have to change our plans without further ado, we still have to eat all the remaining foodstuff we bought before. I think I am going to be sick.