Wednesday, June 13, 2012

TP 199 - Got the Blues

This week's Thematic theme fits the way I've been feeling lately. I've been sick for the last
couple of weeks, and winter is getting me down.
In April I visited my old hometown of Christchurch, which was struck by several devastating earthquakes in 2010-11. (See here and here)

Since September 4th 2010 there have been 10,934 quakes, ranging from the largest  (7.1 on 4th September 2010), through the aftershock which took the most lives and caused the most damage (6.3 on 22nd February 2011), down to small aftershocks which are barely felt. There was a 3.1 quake at 11.00 am this morning, 14th June.

I cannot express in words how depressing the visit was.
The city I knew has gone. As a teenager I lived in the beautiful seaside suburb of Sumner, where many houses toppled down cliffs and where large shipping containers are anchored at the bottom of steep, shorn hillsides, to keep rocks from tumbling onto the roads.

half a house on top of a new cliff
The port of Lyttelton was virtually on top of the shallow epicentre of the 6.3 quake.
Many of the shops and buildings have been demolished, or are in the process of being pulled down, leaving empty lots interspersed with piles of rubble.

Building gone? Now it's an outdoor cafe
this one's being rebuilt - with attitude!
 The high school I attended, Christchurch Girls' High School, stood here:

This is what it used to look like:

The CBD was hugely damaged, and large parts of it are still inaccessible to the public
while tower blocks and heritage buildings alike are being razed to the ground.

One small part - a few blocks - of the CBD is open for business, with
"pop-up" shops mostly constructed from shipping containers:

All of the older structures which are still standing are closed or fenced off from
public access, like the Bridge of Remembrance across the Avon River:

I lived in this city for 25 years.
I will never live there again, and I would never want to. I have nothing but admiration
for the people who have stayed (many haven't) and shown indomitable strength and spirit.
I wish them luck in rebuilding their shattered city.

A recent post on Christchurch Daily Photo included this message, which brought tears to my eyes:

and these words:
"The sentiment of the sign is so true for Christchurch – there is so much we can see no more. At least not in real life. The buildings and sights will never be in physically front of us again, they’re consigned to memory now, and that fades oh so quickly... even now it’s getting harder and harder to piece things together – which street was that? What building was that?"
If you've stayed with me until this point, thank you for reading.


  1. These are beautiful shots. I don't know if I would have the courage to stay, and pray I never need to find out.

    1. It certainly takes courage - although I guess there are some people who have no option, for one reason or another.
      Thanks for visiting!

  2. A fine set of photos which record the aftermath of a tragic event. The 'after' and 'before' shot of the school is especially effective.

    1. Thank you Bob. It made me very sad to look at the site and see.... nothing.

  3. Even with the beautiful blue skies in your pictures, I can see why that trip would make you sad. Mine is one building, torn down with the intention of putting up something better, and it makes me sad. I can't imagine the feeling of seeing my whole hometown like that. I'm sorry.

    1. I know - I felt it was something I needed to do - but it was no fun.

  4. great captures! I like the half house on the cliff image :-)

  5. How sad. I can hear the heartache in your words and see it in your photos. It's good to allow yourself to grieve. Blessings to you.

  6. I am so sorry. I remember reading your posts when the earthquake happened. So sad to have parts of your past wiped out like that.
    As a stranger, I'm pleased to see signs of spunk and life in these pics (the new cafe, the school going on in shipping containers), but the sadness of what is no more weighs heavy in your post.

    1. Yes, there are signs of life. The people who are still there have an incredible spirit.
      Thanks, Lisa.

  7. Very nice pics, Alexia. Sorry about the somber situation, of course.

    P.S. For some reason, this post didn't update on my floating blogroll.

    dreaming of open seas
    A writer who made a difference
    1 week ago

    That's your newest, according to blogger USA??

    1. Yes I've noticed that it didn't update on Max's, either. Dunno why ?

  8. Alexia, those are lovely photos, and a very sad post. I can see why you couldn't stay in Christchurch, not sure I could either, maybe its for the young, strong, energetic and hopeful who will rebuild and make another, but different Christchurch.

    Best wishes for wherever you are

  9. My sympathy Alexia. Those of us in the North Island can only guess at what it must be like.


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