Yesterday we went into central Christchurch to see for ourselves what we had seen many times via news footage and photos online. Now I am going to repeat some things that many other people have also said, because they are true. No amount of looking at pictures online can quite prepare you for the extent of the damage to the central city. Whole blocks have disappeared and without landmarks we sometimes found ourselves disoriented. I sought out familiar old haunts: workplaces, theatres, libraries, favourite shops, restaurants and bars. Except for a couple of places they were all broken and closed - many will never reopen. It was one of the saddest walks I have ever done.
Thank goodness we ended the day on a much brighter note; four families got together for a barbeque. Happy to report that, unlike the city they live in, these Christchurch friends were in fine form.