Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Our last taste of civilization before departing for Antarctica is the city of Christchurch on New Zealand's South Island.  Many of my friends who are veterans of this trip speak of the city fondly, and it's not hard to see why.  The weather is great (reminds me of Portland), the countryside just outside the city looks spectacular, and the people here are nice to a fault.  As I ran errands today, I had two different vendors offer me rides during their breaks to help me get everything done.  I gratefully accepted both.

Which is why the Earthquake over a year ago is so heartbraking.  At magnitude 6, it wasn't that strong by California standards, but context is everything.  The epicenter was shallow (3 miles) and right under the city. The city is built on a flat coastal plane that is mostly sediment, so liquifaction was a large problem too.

The people here are actively rebuilding their city, but it's still a work in progress, with most of the down-town and historic core closed off and in ruins.  I attached a few photos.

City Library (I think)
Christchurch Cathedral
Poorly hidden UFO- probably responsible for most of the damage
Church near my hotel

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