I See. I Like. I Blog.
FEBRUARY TWENTY-SECOND, TWENTY ELEVEN. I was on the Overlander heading back to Auckland, when several text messages started to come in from friends and family in Malaysia; all of them asking the same thing – whether I was okay and if I made it out of the earthquake in Christchurch.
Earthquake? In Christchurch?
Whoa, wait a minute! I mean, I was there hardly a week ago, and now it’s a pile of rubble…?!
Flashback to February 14, 2011: the day I touched base in Christchurch. It’s the first out the 5 stops in my 12-day plan to explore New Zealand by rail, with the Tongariro National Park as my final destination. The first thing I noticed about the city was how compact and neat it was. That’s a plus for someone like me, cursed with a lousy sense of direction, who could easily get lost even with a GPS. I don’t trust a machine that can talk back at me. Heh.
I spent two glorious days, soaking up the summer sunshine, taking in the sights and sounds of this lovely Garden City in New Zealand’s South Island. Everything and everyone here seem to move at a leisurely pace, giving out a laid back atmosphere everywhere I went – from the heart of the city – the Cathedral Square – to the magnificent Botanical Gardens, and atop Port Hill on the Canterbury Plains.
I remember watching the news that night. Seeing the devastation caused by the m6.3 earthquake left me with mixed emotions. No doubt I was thankful to have escaped it, nevertheless I was deeply saddened to know that many people died that day.
I remember thinking about the fate of those whom I’ve met along the way ~ the friendly hotel staff at The SO, the elderly woman at the Botanical Gardens who’d offered to share a biscuit with me, and the bubbly store assistant who insisted that I tell her everything about Malaysia. Uhm, I just came in for a candy bar. I didn’t know any of their names, but I remember saying a little prayer for them regardless.
I dedicate these photos to all those who survived the terrible tragedy.
The real man smiles in trouble, gathers strength from distress, and grows brave from reflection – Thomas Paine