After arriving in Christchurch we phoned our campervan people to see if we could hire a van for three nights. The phone rang for ages and was finally answered by a lady who was on her way out as they had closed for the night. I explained the situation but it looked grim. Now this is where Kiwi's earn the title "most helpful people in the world." She said that she couldn't sort it but that a van for sale on the car park would do for tonight of we promised not to drive it or cook in it. She picked us up in her own car and even gave us a lift to a fish and chip shop after sorting us with loads of warm bedding. First class.
The next day the owner who was fully aware of the situation sorted us out with a cup of tea and a cut-price van for three days. Brilliant.
We explored the local area and went into the city which we didn't the first time. What we saw beggared belief. We new there had been two earthquakes and nearly 100 people killed but the scale of the devastation was unbelievable. The whole city centre is shut, out side the gated area is just block after block of rubble car parks where buildings once stood. We were parked on one and learned from a local lady that the building that was there fell on a bus killing several people. Poor woman started crying when she told us. We walked around the perimeter gob-smacked. It was so silent except for diggers and cranes, I've never seen a modern city deserted like that.
After driving out of town we explored the local areas of Littleton and New Brighton. Even 20 miles out of the city centre there were collapsed buildings, evidence of rock falls and shattered roads. It just never ended. Deserted suburbs like ghost-towns. Word fail me.
One thing that shone through was not only the sun on the last day but the spirit of the people of Christchurch fundraising and protesting for their city. Good luck to them all!
Much love C & P xx