Thursday, March 28, 2013

To Christchurch, New Zealand

Flying days as we go from Australia to New Zealand. We change from semi caravaning in a rental car to flight mode. Some food is discarded and some packed in suitcases which have to meet weight and size limits for checked and carry on. Checked bags have to be 23 kg or less and carry on luggage 7 kg or less. You are also limited to one item other than your carry on. We fudge a little here. I have my coat in a cloth bag, covering some other items and William has our “lunch” bag/small cooler chest. William's check in is over weight so he stuffs some heavy items in my check in. Both our carry on bags are over weight so William piles heavy items in his back pack/purse and I can barely zip my purse. Good thing they don't weigh your other item.
 We fly from Cairns to Auckland on Wednesday. Spend the night in an airport hotel and Thursday fly to Christchurch, New Zealand. We are beginning our New Zealand adventure in the south then flying home out of Auckland.
Barry likes his special seat

I am amused by the signs in the toilet stalls in the Cairns airport. They do get international travelers who may be accustomed to squat toilets, some of which are raised a little.
The sharps containers are in all toilets in Australia and labeled as such. In New Zealand the containers are on the walls in the toilets, but are not labeled. In the USA we would consider having sharps containers in toilets as encouraging drug use. We prefer to have drug users throw their used syringes in parks, on beaches or in the regular trash for children and sanitation workers to run the risk of getting a needle stick.

About 30 intermediate school students fly on our plane from Auckland to Christchurch. They are part of a track and field team who will be participating in a weekend long tournament. They arrived at the airport quite early and were not scheduled to fly until noon. Air New Zealand had room for them on an earlier flight at 10:10, so we sat just in front of them. We had already moved in the lounge to get away from the loud giggle screech.

When we were in Australia someone had said, “why do you want to go to Christchurch? It was all knocked down in the earthquake.” It was an earthquake I don't remember. But we have been learning about it since we got here.
William thinks he feels another quake. The display here in the quake city museum was great.
Photo of part of the destroyed cathedral

Historically there have always been quakes here. The town is in a volcanic area with lots of faults and a lot of the town is subject to liquefaction, where the sandy soil just turns to mush and water and or sand may boil up. The series of quakes started in September of 2010. But in February of 2011 the quake was right under the town and whatever bad that could happen did happen.
You can be arrested if you go beyond the chain link fence

The most obvious part of the damage is the destroyed downtown. Most of the buildings are being taken down. A few have been rebuilt. There are a lot of temporaries.
Steel storage containers have been used to make some banks and stores

steel containers appear to be holding up a facade

A new building built by a group of tech companies who now work together here

Why is this being held up?

Christchurch had a huge Gothic style cathedral that is destroyed, So they are rebuilding this. It is called the Cardboard Cathedral by locals.

The 185 people who died are remembered in this art structure, composed of 185 unique white chairs.

But the unseen part is the damage to the homes. So many people are still facing a third winter in damaged houses or living in caravans or garages because they cannot get insurance companies to pay anything. The attitude is that the insurance companies are just waiting until the people just give up or die so they will take dime on the dollar of what they are due. Why is that the story everywhere?

On a lighter note, I should try to write more like an Aussie or Kiwi. We will be making our own brekkie in the morning. Maybe we will have some buttered toasts. Really in a magazine lipstick is lippies. Diapers are nappies. Every other thing has some cutsie abbreviation. Avocados are avos. Sunglasses are sunnies. Pretty funny to me.

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