We checked into our hotel which was run by the neatest man in the world. Mr Precise. His beard was so precise, the office was so precise, the room was so precise. I signed the documentation to check in and my signature went over the line. I could see his eyes widen slightly as he noticed this disgusting imperfection. I am sure he used Liquid Paper or Whiteout after I left and fixed it up. Mr Precise was a wonderful host and gave us a tour of the room, showing us all the features with pride. He even took the time to adjust and move a remote control that wasn't quite centred on the table.
The room was perfect. Each and every item was placed or folded perfectly in perfect symmetry. In my lifetime I have stayed at many five star hotels but I have never stayed in such a clean, neat and organised room. I'm not saying it's the flashiest hotel I've ever stayed at, I'm saying it's the cleanest. In all hotels, including five star hotels, I can always pick out a dusty skirting board or some fluff on the carpet. Yet this hotel had no fluff and no dust. I am not obsessive when it comes to cleanliness, so please don't think I am an anal, white glove wearing germaphobe. I just have an eye for detail. I think I missed my true calling as a forensic investigator.
We dropped our bags, and headed into the city. It was 1pm on a sunny yet windy day. A lot of dust was whirling around, like a mini tornado blowing leaves and paper. The wind was making howling noises as it blew through abandoned and damaged buildings. Torn blinds and curtains could be seen blowing around through broken glass windows of abandoned offices and units. The streets of the city were quiet, except for the sounds of demolition and heavy excavation equipment. There was minimal traffic and minimal pedestrians, as most of the inner city was blocked off.
Mr Precise had explained precisely with the use of a map, that the majority of the inner city was being demolished, as it was easier, safer and cheaper to knock down damaged buildings and build again. According to wikipedia the earthquake in February 2011 was the most costliest natural disaster in New Zealand. It will cost insurers an estimated NZ$20–30 billion to rebuild.
There was a sadness to the city as I could feel the loss of lives that occurred in the devastating earthquake in February 2011. We walked through the city in silence, looking at all the damage. We thought about the courage and bravery of this resilient city.
There was a sweetness to this city as beautiful Autumn coloured parks and waterways ran through the city like a natural oasis.
There was a vibrancy to the city which smacked us in the face when we turned a corner and walked into the shopping mall. We discovered re:START. Wow!! It looked and felt fabulous! The shops, cafes and banks were set up inside colourful renovated shipping containers!! There was a live DJ grooving out tunes in the courtyard and people everywhere!! I took the opportunity to do a bit of shopping and I fell in love with the most gorgeous red leather boots! The sales assistant offered to post them back to Australia - SOLD!!
We finished the day at a pub with a delicious glass of NZ wine and a full plate of warming delicious NZ lamb roast. Heaven!!
What a city! Christchurch is an amazing city that evokes many feelings. It is filled with beauty and tragedy. I am glad I visited this city, it gave me the opportunity to pay my respects and experience true resiliency. I look forward to visiting this fine city again.