Friday, 17 June 2011

Christchurch - Part I

If you haven't been paying attention to the news you might not know that Christchurch experienced 2 big earthquakes on Monday 13th June 2011 following the massive shakes that devastated Christchurch in February 2011.

I'm still behind on my Kiwi Experience blog, but I arrived in Christchurch yesterday so am putting the other on hold as this is more current.

If you've had a look through my blog you'll know that I have been touring the whole of New Zealand, but not only that. I have been meeting family members on this side of the world for the first time! So the reason I've come to Christchurch and not listened to the tour guides recommending you avoid it, is because my mum's cousin's two daughters live here.

As I said, I arrived here yesterday. I took a 7 hour bus journey from Cromwell (an hour outside of Queenstown) which was the longest most boring bus journey ever!

So as we got closer to Christchurch, and as I saw the number of kilometers get smaller and smaller, I must admit I did feel a bit nervous. I really had no idea what to expect..I mean I've never in my life felt an earthquake, I've never been to an area affected by one; you see it on the news but these things don't feel real until it's right infront of you.

We arrived through a side of town where you wouldn't even think there had been an earthquake. Everything seemed intact. Roads normal, no cracks. Houses still upright. I thought to myself "Ok maybe it's not going to be that bad?".

I got dropped off at the airport (flights weren't even running, but that's a whole other story due to volcanic ash from Chile...) as it was easiest for Lisa to pick me up. We drove to her house where on the way I saw some evidence of liquefaction, which is when a mix of water and sand bubbles up from underground and causes a right mess of the roads and properties. Lisa showed me round her house, showing where cracks had formed in the brickwork and in walls. Thankfully her house hasn't been too badly affected when you compare it to some other places.

I arrived at 4pm that afternoon and went to bed not having felt an aftershock yet. That lasted for over 12 hours - unusual for Christchurch! - until I woke up just after 6.30am to what felt like someone had come in and started shaking my bed. I could hear things in the house shaking. I just lay there, probably half asleep, not fully registering what was happening. And then it stopped. I thought to myself "hmm.. my first earthquake..." when Lisa ran in to see if I was ok (she knew I was feeling kindof freaked out beforehand) to which I replied "yeah, it was actually kinda cool!"

I soon found out it had a magnitude of 4.4. Not enough to cause any damage but enough that you'd certainly feel it!

Today, Lisa and her sister Jacqui took me on a tour around Christchurch showing me the most damaged areas. In one case a bridge that people use to drive over everyday has physically raised up so you drive up an angle to get on it! It's so amazing just how much everything moves and the results you can see.

The place that shocked me most was the Central Business District, which would normally have been thriving and so busy on a Friday evening when we went to it. It was completely cordoned off. Not a person could be seen in the area. Complete ghost town. The Hotel Grand Chancellor is a high rise building which is actually leaning at an angle not far from the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy!

This boat house is on a bit of a lean

My hand can easily fit in the crack in this concrete wall 

It's just so shocking to see this kindof thing right infront of your eyes!

There were two more aftershocks today after this morning's. A 4.4 and a 4.5, however, I didn't actually feel them as we were driving, but those who did said they felt rather big!

Hoping for a quiet night's sleep. Don't want to speak too soon. We'll see!




    I awarded you!
    Love reading your blog x

  2. Chloe this is too scary:( come home now.. ps, love what you did with your blog:D its pretty xxxx