Christchurch, South Island, New Zealand

On the scale of desirable places:

Sea, sand, surf – yes
Sexy Cities – yes
A recent earthquake disaster zone? Oh…. 

I find myself here accidentally. You have to change buses on the East coast route down South. Fine. No, NOT fine, when the connection doesn’t leave until 8.30am. Hence me spending the night here. The last aftershock tremor was this morning apparently. Eek!

The buses run to a main street called Bealey Avenue, North of central Christchurch. It’s here I find Scooby Doo Hostel Mark II. Since the last one was in Uruguay, I know I’ve had a pretty good run, it had end sometime. In the February quake the city lost over 1000 backpacker beds, meaning that those left are pretty packed out, meaning beggars – that turn up with nowhere booked (me) – cannot be choosers.  Old man Smithers opens the door of this creepy little pensioners bungalow. He asks me to wait in an odd little living room, with lots of cats. He offers me some slippers. I was 30 seconds from bolting till his lovely wife (possibly mail order, she’s a LOT younger than him) comes and gives me the grand tour. It’s very OAP but kind of sweet. There’s me and 20 Japanese/Korean students here. They are also lovely, however one just started a sentence with “This one time at Science Camp…..” Mega Lols.

I’d heard you can walk around the perimeter of the fenced off military patrolled ‘Red Zone’ in the city centre. However to do this alone at 7pm at night was probably not one of my brightest. The word is SPOOKY. Absolutely surreal .It’s a whole abandoned city, whole side faces of buildings torn off, cracks and ruptures in the pavements. Most unnerving are the rows and rows of houses, windowless and blacked out, yet you can see straight into the rooms like a doll house. Your eyes play tricks that someone is waiting to jump out of the shadows. I don’t seen another soul however, it’s like the end of the world. I give it 20 minutes and 5 or 6 blocks and then bottle it. I run off back to Bealey Ave feeling exactly like Will Smith in I am Legend.

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An.an.tas.in : The Anantasin is the name of a shipwreck just of the coast of the Sensi Parasise, Mae Haad Bay, Koh Tao, Thailand. It’s one of my many favorite places.

Lit.tle: Just because it’s cute.

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