While we have been staying in Blenheim, we've also been planning things and trying to make sure we have done things we want to do, and been to places we want to go to before we leave for that other hemisphere.
We've been to Mapua and briefly to Nelson. All going well we want to revisit Nelson again this week. We have become a little more familiar with Blenheim and Picton, and have had a couple of days in Christchurch.
Last time we visited Christchurch was six months after the February 2011 earthquake. The city and it's people were still in shock and the inner city was completely closed, shut down and no access for anyone. Organised demolition hadn't even started and aftershocks were a normal part of life. It was sad. It seemed empty and soul-less. We felt a little ghoulish taking photos of the damage, while trying to recall how it had looked before.
Things are changing though, albeit too slowly for some. We were heartened to see a new vibrancy emerging in the inner city. The Re:START mall, the transitional (cardboard) cathedral, art installations of different kinds and people. People enjoying their city again and embracing the changes, while still honouring and respecting the event that has changed them all.
They must have been a tough lot of people, determined and stoic. So different to us with our gadgets and sometimes first world problems. I'm proud of them and what they achieved. I hope they look down on us and are proud of what they see too.
Funny that soon we will be making the journey back to the country they all left. But we will travel in just over a day the distance which they travelled in three months by sail.