Friday, July 8, 2011

Visiting the Epicenter

Today, we were reminded about how unusable guidebooks are for deciding what to do in Christchurch and its environs post-quake.

We decided for our day's excursion to drive over to Lyttleton - which was described in the guidebook as a great place to go check out bars and restaurants.

The good side of going over there.  We saw views like this.

But, the guidebook didn't know that Lyttleton was the epicenter of the February earthquake.  Unfortunately, Sarah had been taking videos with the camera and we didn't realize we were out of batteries.  But these were the online photos we should have looked at before going over to Lyttleton.

Most of the businesses on the main street were open, if they were on the uphill side of the street.  Everything downhill was closed and looked something like the photo above.

We decided to drive around the peninsula to Sumner.  But, we hadn't seen this photo.

Fortunately, we believed the 'road closed' signs and did exploring in the other direction before driving back to Christchurch and around to Sumner the other way.

Before we came, we had gotten emails from our New Zealand sponsor that some of the East Suburbs had been without power, water, or sewage for some time after the quake.  Sumner was one of those suburbs.  It's a quaint beachside neighborhood with houses built high on cliffs, and the main beach road below.  Think parts of coastal California:  Half Moon Bay, Morrow Bay, San Luis Obispo areas.

I had also seen some photos after the June aftershocks of cliffs with massive landslides and houses were hanging halfway off the cliff.  (Here is a link to a good video:

We saw these hills today on the way to Sumner.  Interestingly enough, we saw how the New Zealanders are managing the landslide potential.  They have taken massive shipping containers and placed them as barriers in front of some of these landslide areas or even large buildings that are in danger of falling.

When we got to Sumner, we found a really good restaurant open.  It was called Clink.  We chose it partly because it reminded me of a friend's Austin-based event planning business.  The people were so friendly there, and so thankful for our tourist dollars.

Our suburb -- Riccarton -- is on the west side of the city.  Although I definitely see evidence of the earthquake, it really is relatively minor over here.  And I'm thankful that the University was able to safely host us after seeing all of the damage to other parts of this city.

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