Friday, February 25, 2011

Ted reports from Christchurch:

"At 12.51 on Tuesday we were at the bus station in Lichfield Street, central Christchurch, waiting for the bus to the airport. There was a loud thump, and it started raining bricks. Frances grabbed me and we huddled against the wall of the bus station. I thought we were gone because we could feel the wall heaving and bending, and all around us walls were collapsing and sending up clouds of orange dust. There were some secondary kids in the bus station itself, and when it stopped they rushed out into the street. We quickly joined them in the middle of the road, and looked up Lichfield Street towards High Street and the Twisted Hop. You couldn't see anything. There was a large pile of rubble on the corner but you couldn't see anything else through the dust. We made our way up Lichfield Street towards High Street, then along Manchester Street and down Cashel Street. It was while we were going down the middle of the street there was another shake and buildings literally started falling around us. It was just a scene of total devastation all around us. We simply took the decision we had to get out of the CBD fast and duly did. I had a vague idea where the airport was and we set out for there walking across Hagley Park, which was full of water in parts with sand and general liquefaction. Eventually, with a couple of lifts from people, we made our way to the airport, only to find it closed. Both of the people who gave us a lift had National Radio on in their cars, so we were able to find out just how bad everything was. Across the road was a hotel, where people were taking shelter. We walked in and spent the next 15 hours there first sitting at a table and then sleeping on the floor.They were quite brilliant. There were hundreds, if not 1000, people there and everyone was given a blanket and a pillow. A buffet meal was supplied, and breakfast next morning. At 6.30 am we took off over the road to the airport to discover Jetstar didn't have a plane on the ground and weren't likely to have one for some while. They suggested we make our way to Burnside High, which was running a welfare centre. From there we made contact with the Red Cross who got us on to the Air Force Boeing 757 that brought us to Wellington. When we got to Wellington they had arranged US and British consular representatives for the many foreigners, a bus to take people into town, and had found emergency accommodation for them.

"Apart from the horror in central Christchurch we were truly amazed by the attitude and kindness of everybody. People couldn't do enough for each other, particularly at the hotel and the welfare centres, where there were CD, Red Cross, St Johns and Salvation Army personnel. The Red Cross seemed to have the major coordination role. Many of the US and British people did not have their passports, because their luggage was back in their respective hotels or rental cars. But we feel so much for our friends in Christchurch and the people of that city. It has been a disaster but hope is still there."
To put it another way,
neighbours are supposed to help other neighbours, not kill their zebras.

UPDATE: Bonus looting story:
"In a separate incident, a looter was caught red handed by police stealing a pearl drum set from a music store in Blenheim Road in the early hours of this morning.
"The thief had smashed the front window to gain entry. Police caught and arrested a man 15 metres from the store."

That’s the wonderful thing about New Zealand. No matter how extreme the tragedy, no matter how vast the physical destruction, and no matter how terrible the carnage and despair and grief, there’s always some bogan who sees it all as an opportunity to score a really kick-ass drum-set.
One of Daryl's commenters adds:
This picture to me sums up the uncrushable optimism and civic spirit of New Zealanders:
Even when faced by the most terrible disaster, someone remembered to put the road cone out.


Jennifer said...

Best wishes for all in Christchurch.

And as for those damn zebras... if only they'd shown a little fence-respect. Geeesh! Tread on me, I'll tread on you! I guess they've been shown.

Zebras are zebras... people are asses.

I want to ride to the ridge where the west commences
And gaze at the moon till I lose my senses
And I can't look at hobbles and I can't stand fences
Don't fence me in.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'm glad Ted and company are safe.

That zebra story reflects a sadly prevalent attitude in American society these days. I wonder if we're going to make it much longer.

fish said...

neighbours are supposed to help other neighbours, not kill their zebras.

I just kill and eat my neighbors. Win/win.

Whale Chowder said...

I'm in favor of turning zebra killers into rugs.

Von said...

WOW. What an experience. Sending good thoughts to NZ. And some $$.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

It's good to know that the people in Christchurch are responding with such compassion and bravery.

vacuumslayer said...

I find that when people pull together in a time of crisis, it really puts my misanthropy to the test. Damn you people banding together and helping each other out! Damn you to hell!

Security word is "wompell." I like it!

guitarist manqué said...

In the Burrough's Tarzan books the zebra was the tastiest animal in the jungle (sic). I hear from reliable testimonial that this is in fact not the case. Perhaps nobody told these clowns.

wv:Great new tooth treatment; abludent

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Putting out the road cone...

Another Kiwi said...

We know what you are doing Mister and this isn't that kind of blog!!

Substance McGravitas said...

I tried to steal a Simmons drum set once but the extension cord just wasn't long enough.

Mo said...

The people of Christchurch have the sympathy of the people of Canada! It was all over the news here, and the same thing could happen to our west coast cities, so we feel for Christchurchians (is that the correct name for them). Best of luck and lets hope for a speedy recovery!

Another Kiwi said...

Thanks Mo. The city is in the province of Canterbury so they tend to call themselves Cantabrians, and be quite forthright about it!!

mikey said...

Cantabrians Cantoforda Cantaloupe.

The key thing to remember about the tragic earthquake in New Zealand is that it's not my fault!

Another Kiwi said...

In news just in : a mysterious pair of trousers was found at the epicentre!!!
Police are looking in to them

Smut Clyde said...

they tend to call themselves Cantabrians
It's one of these more-English-than-the-English things, like "Cholmondeley".

Smut Clyde said...

In news just in : a mysterious pair of trousers was found at the epicentre!!!

It's poetry innit.
As if this earth in fast thick pants were breathing.