Day Thirty Three: Christchurch and a Birthday Dinner

Just for reference, day 33 of my trip was 10 January 2014. That is my friend Darryl’s birthday, so we made sure to be in Christchurch so we could go out to dinner with him after he closed his book shop, Arts Centre Bookshop. We had a lot of exploring to do before dinner time though…

Morning in Christchurch… and there was a very bright ball of light in the sky. We think we remember hearing people use the term “sun” but it seems like it’s been a long time since we actually have needed to pull out the sunglasses and sunscreen! It was a very welcome change from the gloomy overcast cloudy skies we’ve been waking up to for days! The first order of business was locating a grocery store and, if possible, a place to do laundry that was not going to charge us $9 per load (as our motel was going to do if we did laundry there). On the way to get groceries we walked past this pretty darn cool sculpture called Passing Time:

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We found this tiny place right next to the Countdown (grocery store) for a cuppa and breakfast.

We found this tiny place right next to the Countdown (grocery store) for a cuppa and breakfast.

Even tiny places present a pretty flat white!

Even tiny places present a pretty flat white!

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Tui mural! I'll go back at some point and see if they took the rope down. There was a worker hanging on it when we went past the first time.

Tui mural! I’ll go back at some point and see if they took the rope down. There was a worker hanging on it when we went past the first time.

We've got the Sunshine

We’ve got the Sunshine

Alice In Videoland building

Alice In Videoland building

Creative use of these rocks-in-cages things. We've seen them in a lot of places in NZ, used for erosion control to landscaping.

Creative use of these rocks-in-cages things. We’ve seen them in a lot of places in NZ, used for erosion control to landscaping.

Hey! I know that art. It's the artist that did murals I posted in Wellington, BMD!

Hey! I know that art. It’s the artist that did murals I posted in Wellington, BMD!

They don't mess around here. Say what you mean.

They don’t mess around here. Say what you mean.

A good reminder for all of us.

A good reminder for all of us.

Re:START mall

Re:START mall

A bit about what I am choosing to share about Christchurch in photos:
Christchurch has been recovering from a couple of pretty big earthquakes and thousands of aftershocks that happened in 2010 and 2011. I mean BIG ones that took out buildings and in some cases entire blocks / neighborhoods. Walking around central Christchurch can be hard– both because some streets are closed off and also because there are so many moments when you turn and see a building that looks okay until you realize that it’s boarded up and surrounded by cyclone fencing or maybe even part of the building is crumbled and just a huge pile of bricks. The town is using shipping containers stacked up against the sides of some buildings as barricades in case the building tumbles in a future quake / aftershock. There are still shakes on a regular basis, even a small 4. something one on the 10th that none of us even noticed. I’ll do a post later with some of the photos of damage, but for now I’m going to leave those out. The residents of Christchurch have been shook, rattled, and rolled to beyond what anyone should ever have to put up with. Insurance claims drag on and on and on… And yet life does go on. New buildings are going up, and creativity has been put into play with places like Re:START mall and lots of pop-up art installations and mini-parks on newly empty lots (or “sections” as they’re called in NZ).

In the afternoon we took a walk to the famous Christchurch Botanic Gardens. I’m including A LOT of flower photos, as some of my readers are stuck in the middle of winter and/or a drought and this is as close as I can get them to summer sunshine.

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Peacock Fountain

Peacock Fountain

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Bottoms up!

Bottoms up!

World Peace Bell. The photo bombing child is not inside the bell, they're BEHIND the bell!

World Peace Bell. The photo bombing child is not inside the bell, they’re BEHIND the bell!

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Okay kids, time to count! How many ducks?

Okay kids, time to count! How many ducks?

Togs? That's swimsuits to us Americans!

Togs? That’s swimsuits to us Americans!

The people at Tip Top Ice Cream had a brilliant ad campaign a while ago that you might enjoy watching the clip for. If you only do one video from the link, do the togs -vs- undies video!

There are TWO workers in this photo. Can you find them both?

There are TWO workers in this photo. Can you find them both?

This guy was WAY up in the tree. You know what he was doing? He was taking a kite out that was tangled in the branch.

This guy was WAY up in the tree. You know what he was doing? He was taking a kite out that was tangled in the branch.

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After the gardens we had a brief trip to the museum. They have a lot of exhibits going on, but we only had time for some of them. I’ll go back again when I’m in Christchurch in a couple of weeks. A few shots, but none of the cultural stuff which should not be photographed.

Overview of street art exhibit.

Overview of street art exhibit.

YES!! More BMD murals, this time inside the museum as part of the street art exhibit.

YES!! More BMD murals, this time inside the museum as part of the street art exhibit.

The next few photos are of Paua Shell House, which I first saw in Bluff in 2005. The owners of the house let people in to see their collections at the time. It was only a few years later that their grandson loaned the collection to the museum in Christchurch where the driveway, entrance and lounge (living room for the Americans) were recreated.

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Fred and Myrtle's Paua Shell House. Exactly as it was when it was in Bluff.

Fred and Myrtle’s Paua Shell House. Exactly as it was when it was in Bluff.

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We went out to Darryl’s birthday dinner at Lotus Heart. It was just a short walk back from there to our motel. We called it a night early, as we had a 6:15 a.m. pickup to take us to the train station the next morning!

Post Lotus Heart moon

Post Lotus Heart moon

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One Response to Day Thirty Three: Christchurch and a Birthday Dinner

  1. Gretchen says:

    I love that they have so much public art there.

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