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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Christchurch Quake

Tuesday, Feb. 22, 1300-ish: Clearing tree trimmings with F and quad bike, himself sprints to house for phone, returns to tell us 6.9 quake in Christchurch, grandfer knocked down but uninjured, house damaged. Get updates through afternoon.

1440: head to Dunedin city with F for cellphone coverage, meet herself at 1700 to get ride home, concerned about  grandfer and community in Diamond Harbour (immediately across harbor from Lyttelton, epicenter of quake), talk about heading through to help where needed

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 0715-ish: Listen to National Radio while fixing breakfast, try calling grandfer and G (another friend in the village), no answer at either

0830: still no answer

0845-ish: still no answer, mention same to S, S says P taking G to airport for early flight. Unsure of best course of action.

0855: Decide. Ask herself to wait 2 minutes, throw few clothes in bag and grab computer (leave phone and camera chargers behind, d-oh), go back to city.

En Route: Speak to G, safely at airport, some damage to her house, grandfer on way back home.

0933: Arrive in city, herself late (my fault), still no answer. Do shopping for herself, head to Nova for coffee and Web connection while waiting for grandfer to get home and answer phone. Eavesdrop on all, every conversation about quake.

1100: Grandfer answers phone, says all is well, presence not necessary, I talk him into permission. Stop to top up T-stick then take bus to gardens and walk up Pine Hill (bus would have got me there, I see after I disembark). Have made wonderful “CHC THANKS” sign while at Nova, get to safe place for cars to stop, show sign and thumb to first passing car, car stops.

Interesting and bizarre conversation with Hong Kong Chinese gentleman who has lived in NZ for 30 years and returning to Christchurch after delivering eldest son to Otago Uni. Vastly different experiences of Aotearoa than my own. He drives me through to Lincoln turnoff.

1700/1730-ish (not good at time-keeping, obviously): Van of young workers stops, no idea of where I’m heading but are going to Lincoln. They're from Queenstown, here fixing damage from earlier quake, apologized for the mess while moving empty beer bottles and girlie mags from back seats. They let me off in Lincoln.

Unsure of which way from there (not the usual way I’d travel but expected it to have more traffic so took that route), stopped in a store and asked. Young Asian guy behind counter didn’t know area well, customer did so gave directions, asked if I knew about quakes (“Yes,” I said, “that’s why I’m going there.”), asked who I was visiting, knew him (“the old guy who looks like Col. Saunders?” he asked).

Got a ride out of Lincoln with Swiss tourist heading for Akaroa, gave her tips on what to do there, got dropped in middle of nowhere at Gebbies Pass turnoff.

Again, first car to pass thumb stopped (well done, thumb!), also going to Diamond Harbour. Asked where I was going, also knew grandfer, wife of couple had in fact made his nightshirts. Small, small world. Delivered me to door.

Grandfer is wonderful, I am relieved, house less damaged than I expected, dog very happy to see me. (Dog’s name is dog.) Papatuanuku (earth mother) still unhappy, not sure why. (Mars, can you PM me a karakia for soothing our troubled Papa?) Many shocks since arrival, apparently nobody slept last night as sharp shocks every 30-40 minutes. Not sure which are more frequent, the shocks or the calls to check on grandfer – good to know he’s so well-loved. Called in on neighbors who moved here from Lyttelton when their home there was damaged in the September quake, passed on water news (run out) and watched first Lyttelton footage on their TV. Got names of people I may be able to help and will contact them first thing tomorrow.

Stay tuned, same Bat time (tho probably not), same Bat channel . . .

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