I went in to the Christchurch CBD today to run an errand. I bussed into the temporary bus terminal, and then walked a few blocks.
It was . . . weird.
When I first got there I thought 'Damn! I should have brought my camera!' But as I walked, I realised that I didn't need it after all. There's not much point in taking pictures of empty lots.
The part of town that you can walk through is the part of town that, apart from insurance issues, has been cleared already. On one block along Colombo Street there is nothing at all standing on one side of the road. I couldn't remember what used to be there. On the other side of the road, two buildings of about twelve are left.
To the north of where I was is the extant Red Zone. Partially deconstructed high-rises are draped in shielding cloth, keeping debris from falling too far from the buildings. Cranes rear into the air, like witches fingers or the legs of dead insects. You can hear the deconstruction – booms, and bangs, and things falling. The noises echo through the crumbling canyons of the city.
And then you walk into a shop, and inside everything is as it was, and you forget for a few minutes about the graveyard around you.