Gravel and Art - Christchurch
We arrived into Christchurch from Fiji and were welcomed by Bruce and Simone whom we met in Vietnam. Bruce was only able to have lunch with us at the airport since he was reporting to work as a pilot for the next few days. We had a wonderful home cooked dinner by Simone and got to hang out with her and their charming kids, Nikki and Jackson. It was a treat to hang out in a warm cozy home environment with such great people.
Christchurch was a bit strange as it is still recovering from the earthquakes in 2010 and 2011. John and I had been here 15 years ago, it was never a large built up city but had a neighborhood town charm. Many city lots are now empty and covered with gravel or have earthquake damaged boarded-up buildings. The city is clearly still recovering. The lunchtime 6.3 magnitude earthquake on 22 February 2011 did major damage because of the liquefaction of the soil under the city. One building that was not built correctly to code accounted for 60% of the deaths and killed 115 people.
The city seems to be using the tragedy as an opportunity to create thoughtful community spaces. I think Keegan was right when he said, "This is going to be a really cool place in a few years." There are modern shops, a beautiful new library, and public spaces such as the one Keegan and I saw; a plywood dance floor with a music speaker connection where anyone can plug in their phone and play music and perform if inspired.
Art in the form of murals is quite prevalent and adds beauty and depth to the city.
The people were welcoming and quick to make suggestions to ensure we would enjoy our visit. We loved the many coffee shops on historic Regent street which withstood the earthquakes. I hope we will be back to connect with Bruce and Simone's family and see how the city evolves.