Exploring Christchurch: We Have A Home!

December 15, 2012

Well we couldn’t be more excited. We just signed our lease on a house in Mt. Pleasant, Christchurch. We have a view of the estuary and ocean, as well as the breathtaking mountain around us. I think we got lucky because this spot wasn’t well advertised, and the landlord isn’t a real outgoing fellow. In any case, none of you care about the description, lets see the view!

Im already ready to defend my new house: it was at the lowest of low tide when I took this picture, at most times the brown water is more blue!

Looking up at our spot: Although we have an unobstructed view of the water/hills, from the street we get a lot of privacy. Thank you NZ rain, sun, and humidity for growing such luscious foliage.

The 30+ stairs required for climbing to get up to our front door. We’ll be fit as fiddles! By the way, it’s at least a 1/3 mile drive from the flatlands up to our drive, so when we go for bike rides…. lets just say I thought my legs were tough back in the states. This hill rivals Hastings and Rose Drive (for you Benicians).

We took a drive into the city center this morning as well (in search of an iPad charger to replace the one for Scott’s brand new pad…ahem… that got thrown away in the madness of packing). To brief those who’ve been living under a rock at the bottom of the ocean: Christchurch suffered a devastating earthquake in February 2011. I’m sure I’ll write an earthquake specific post sometime in the future, but I wanted to share now how truly resilient the city has been from what we can tell after 3 days. Of course there’s construction on several streets, and massive buildings that are vacant and broken, but there’s a lot of good happening despite this.

One particular thing that we were able to enjoy today is the “Container Section” of downtown. In central Christchurch, right where all of the really good shopping/touristy things/cathedral used to be, a bit of a gem is rising from the ashes. Ingenious planners/architects/entrepreneurs/whoever have taken shipping containers and turned them into coffee shops and restaurants. Anyone living in San Francisco may have seen similar things down in Hayes Valley.

Anyways, its actually a super cool place to be. Today there were a few different live bands, and the energy was electric with people sunbathing, Christmas shopping, and “sight seeing”. The interesting thing about the use of the shipping containers is that the exact same containers are used for the storage of belongings while one’s house is being repaired or demolished. They are also lining roads and stacked 2 high along bits of road where the cliff is still crumbling… So you’ll see similar large containers in front of damaged houses, businesses, and falling cliffs. I feel like the community is just collectively raising their chins and making the best of a horrible situation.

Sitting on a 2-story container coffee shop… not the best photo for explanation, I’m sure there will be more.

Tonight we’re either driving out to the beach town of Sumner, or checking out the pop-up bar in city center that’s crafted out of a bus. Both should be cool.

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