Heading back towards Christchurch for the last couple of days and I decided to end my trip on a healthy note.  Patricia from www.eternaldelight.co.nz kindly rustled me up a goodies bag that I ordered at short notice.  More of the delicious raw quiche, veggie crackers, cream ‘cheese’ and 6 of the raw sweet nutty brownies.   We drove past her house to pick up the order; the earthquake had damaged their shop premises. raw curried quiche

The GPS got itself terribly lost – instructions became frantic ‘turn left, turn right, turn round, do a U-turn’. We just needed to get from one side to the other but the main part of the city is still cordoned off 13 months after the earthquake and diversions are in place all over.  These poor people have suffered terribly; a suburb near the beach was like a ghost town, buildings leaning crookedly, half the walls missing, sunken into the ground.  One part of us was hoping for an earth tremor so we could say ‘Oh my God, I was in Christchurch and we felt this terrible shaking!’ Human nature we admit it.  On the other hand we don’t want any more devastation around for the NZ people. I said to Geoff ‘Do not make the earth move for me tonight!’

The earthquake has created a new economy for many in the construction industry and the residential market.  Those who no longer have a home are called ‘Red Zoners’. Their home is either demolished or earmarked for demolition and because the insurance companies do not cover earthquake damage, the government has had to pay the Red Zoners out.   Which means, as they get their payout, they are cashed up and in the market for a new house.  The Orange Zoners live in a state of limbo, waiting to be classified as safe or not.  And we think we are stressed?!  The Catholic Church, such a magnificent building has shipping containers rammed against both sides to stop it falling down.

Cathedral in Christchurch

I thought the sign was a joke but no, the ask trucks especially to drive very slowly to minimise the vibrations.

In the meantime business and life carries on around the barriers, the rubble, the patched up streets.   Christchurch is known as a Garden City and we have seen many parks and flowers.  Supermarkets are much better than ours with wide aisles and an amazingly high standard and variety of products.  Some have dispensers filled with raw nuts, goji berries, dried nuts and fruits, help yourself to the amount you would like in zip lock bags weighed at the counters.  Very handy.    Geoff visits the beer, meat, bread and dairy sections and I choose the fresh produce, nuts and fruits.  We muddle along okay….   

The trusty Camper van has braved every winding narrow scary mountain road all around the island.  Thanks to Geoff and his competent driving, we handed the keys back to the hire place without even a scratch on the vehicle.  Not counting the flappy bits that came off earlier in the trip from around the windscreen.  Many a van in the Caravan parks did not fare so well.  Drivers reversing straight into the van parked behind them, smashing into picnic tables, scratches all along the side at the dump stations and driving over tree roots.  And those were only the ones we saw!

How small are we compared to mighty mountains.  An impressive awe inspiring island, the countryside, waterways and people.  It has been a trip to remember!

 van mountain - how small are we

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