This morning we got up early and did the drive to Christchurch from Dunedin, getting in at about noon. We’ve been doubly blessed by Quaker hospitality today; we’re staying at a home of some Friends in Christchurch who are traveling at the moment, and have a lovely view of the city from their living room. We got here, met them, learned about the house and chatted for a bit, and then they were off for their long weekend getaway. We spent some time catching up on emails from the people we’re staying with later in the trip, and then met up with Michael Winter, another Friend with Christchurch meeting.
We had coffee at Zeros, a little cafe down by the hospital just a few short minutes from where we’re staying. Michael’s vocation is education, and his avocation is beekeeping, so we learned what it takes to start a new queen in a hive of bees — it’s a lot more complicated than I thought! After coffee — quite good, but all of the coffee we’ve had in New Zealand has been very good — he was kind enough to take us on a driving tour of downtown Christchurch.
This turned out to be even more valuable than it sounds, because there are a lot of roads still closed with construction from the earthquake recovery. Not the one they had this weekend, but the big one from a few years ago. There are piles of rubble where buildings should be, new buildings being constructed, and in some places there are stacks of shipping containers along the side of building facades that they’re trying to save. It’s very sobering — it reminds me a little of after Loma Prieta in Santa Cruz, but the scope is much bigger than just the downtown Santa Cruz area.
I didn’t bring my camera with me for the drive; it would have been too difficult to shoot out of the car, and somehow it didn’t seem right to be photographing buildings in the process of being torn down or built up.
We had dinner at Zaffrons, which our hosts told us about, a Vietnamese-Thai fusion restaurant that was really good. They’re not on Yelp, though, which was frustrating, because we didn’t bring the address with us, and ended up finding it by accident after choosing another restaurant that was coincidentally on the same corner.
After dinner while getting ready to drive back, I was programming Meg’s phone (she has a Nokia 1520, so we’ve cached offline Here maps), and there was a small earthquake.
Tomorrow we drive overland to Golden Bay, and tomorrow night is a Quaker potluck. It’s a long drive tomorrow, and we’ll probably drive it in shifts. So far I’ve done all the driving. I’m finally getting pretty used to it, although it’s still anxiety-provoking making right turns.