The flight from Sydney to Christchurch was a rocky one. You go over a mountain range which lifts up some strong winds and makes your airplane feel like a toy dangling from a string.
I think I took 2 million ginger tablets just to land the plane without spewing.
Luckily, I felt quickly better once we got out of the airport and onto a bus. We were dropped off at our rental car office where we picked up a sturdy little Tiida.
Driving on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road was an absolute adventure! It took some getting used to, but I didn't kill anyone, so I call that success!
Wandering around Christchurch was eye-opening.
The earthquake of 2011 was widely reported in North American media, but I never really realized the extent of the damage. The city is basically gone.
Plenty of streets are fenced off.
The cathedral has basically been knocked down..
And another 400 remaining buildings and homes are meant to be demolished.
If this is 2 years after an earthquake, I can only imagine what the first year looked like.
Re:Start is the name of the container mall that is basically the only commercial site left in the city proper.
They literally took big shipping containers and put shops in them! Very clever, Christchurchians! My hat goes off to you.
We also saw this nifty thing outside the mall:
It's an old washing machine that someone has turned into a giant iphone/ipod docking station.
The "Dance-O-Mat" is connected to giant speakers over a portable dance floor. Did you notice that disco ball up top?
The next day, before we left Christchurch, we caught a family jamming. Of course, we joined them in our awkward Canadian shuffling way, but it was hugely fun!
Anyway, after wandering the city, we returned to our killer digs. We use Airbnb whenever we can because it's cheaper, friendlier, often a very unique experience, and sometimes, oh-so-luxurious!
This Airbnb is a 90-some year old farmhouse run by a really nice Kiwi couple.
It even had it's own little kitchen!
We had a quick dinner at a nearby pub (bad choice, pub food always seems to be made by someone who doesn't care what your dinner tastes like). The best part of the meal was the bread.
By 10 PM, we were fast asleep.
In the next installment, we get on the road for the first leg of our road trip. Stay tuned!