Thursday, October 18, 2012

#921 Christchurch, New Zealand

My beautiful home port, Christchurch! While I am from Queenstown, it is almost impossible to get there without passing through Christchurch, the nearest international airport. It is also the biggest city on the South Island, so like a capital in some ways. 
Modeled on traditional English cities, when sitting on the banks of the Avon river it is easy to imagine oneself on a different continent. The calm placid river winds through flat Christchurch, with charming trees shadowing the banks while ducks float by.

When I was a child, the highlights of Christchurch were going to Orana Wildlife Park (which I think still exists), trying to catch a glimpse of the Wizard giving one of his nutty speeches, wandering the beautiful old former University of Canterbury campus (which housed the Arts Center), in particular the excellent market. We watched the Wild Things performed in an excellent small theatre -- in fact, all my early experiences of theatre occurred here. As Queenstown's theatre didn't really have much selection, we went to movies in the theatre or at the bigger Hoyts up the road, and later on, climbed the steep steps of the internet cafe that was on the corner. I loved driving past the Edmond's factory, and I even bloodied my nose in the parking lot of the cheap hotel we always stayed at -- wish I could remember the name.

We would drive out to the beach or up into the hills for a view from the extinct volcano. It was a long straight road over the Canterbury plains, with farms and tree breaks and more traffic! Often, we were on our way to Hamner Springs, but Christchurch was the closest place to shop and I loved the shops there!

In February 2011 a powerful earthquake hit Christchurch and they were wracked by many aftershocks and the trauma of liquefaction, homes declared condemned, the loss of their beloved cathedral, and lives lost or forever altered.

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