Finally visited Christchurch.. and by finally I mean on day two haha. Unfortunately I didn't bring my camera, but I'll be back. We unintentionally visited on the one year anniversary of the earthquake. The city was pretty shocking, even still. The entire center of the city, called "the red zone," is blocked off to people... the buildings are crumbled, debris on the ground, and windows shattered and boarded up. The most heart-wrenching thing for me was still seeing the spray paint on the doors of the buildings saying that they had been searched and cleared. Usually they were dated 3-4 days after the quake happened. There were a lot of memorials with flowers and letters; it was an incredible site.
As a way to rebuild the city many shops had relocated to shipping containers. It was actually really interesting and creative. The sides had been taken out and filled with glass, like a store front, and they had electricity and everything. It was quite a sight.
We had been hoping to eat dinner in Christchurch but soon discovered that it was more or less a ghost town and had to walk to nearby Riccarton to get food. Afterwards we had some bus complications and ended up having to wait an extra hour for the bus, but did find a store where we were able to get some necessary items like a power strip and laundry detergent. We spent 5 hours on this adventure... most of it unintentional, but good did come out of it. I'm certainly glad I went to see the city, it put a lot into perspective.