Sunday, September 05, 2010


So Christchurch had an earthquake! Luckily it hit at 4.30am while there were no cars and people out in the streets - so there have been no deaths - but there has been an awful lot of damage, especially in the central city, which was full of historic buildings and is now full of historic buildings with no fronts on, and historic bricks.


The media have not stopped yammering on about Miracle Escapes and Widespread Devastation and Citizens Shaken (nice pun) and Massive Rebuild and so on. Everyone is extremely over-excited about the earthquake. I mean, there is a lot of damage. It's a pretty big deal. But the media coverage of the earthquake is more exciting than the reality of the earthquake (a 7.1, for those who like to quantify these things). Some people have been evacuated from unsafe homes and 20% of the city is still without water and power. It is a Civil Defence Situation. It is a State of Emergency.

It is exciting. (I know that sounds insensitive when people have lost property and been displaced. But it is. (Exciting, not insensitive. Actually I guess it's kind of both.))

Everyone is running around going, "But things like this don't happen in New Zealand! Not in Christchurch! Nothing ever happens in Christchurch!" Which is true. I think the shock of Something Happening In Christchurch is actually bigger than the shock of the quake. Christchurch was even trending on Twitter for a few hours this morning, which goes beyond the wildest dreams of the creators of both Twitter and Christchurch.

I'm using photos from news sites here, but I did take tons, and will post them when I get them off the Pilot's computer. The one of me 'falling in a hole' is particularly amusing.

Like this, but vastly improved by the addition of me, half in the hole and waving my arms about. Also the hole is better.

The earthquake itself wasn't too bad - it felt like being on a fairground ride, just before it comes to a shuddering stop, except the shuddering carried on. I woke up and decided that it wasn't worth getting out of bed (actual thought process: "What is that! Oh, is earthquake. Quite big! Oh well. Probably won't die and if I do, oh well." Getting out of bed and going to a doorway didn't even cross my mind, although apparently at home - I was at the Pilot's - Kate tried to hide under the bed, which was a poor idea as her bed goes right to the floor).

I asked if the Pilot was ok because I thought maybe he would be scared and I could be Caring Capable Girlfriend, but he wasn't scared (which was, I admit, mildly disappointing), he wasn't even really properly awake, so we made a cheap joke about "did the earth move for you" and went back to sleep.

Devastation was widespread! Our pot plant fell over.

Luckily our - my family's - house is completely undamaged. We are in an area that wasn't hit hard, but the Pilot's area was hit badly - his house has two brick chimneys, and while neither of those have come down they've both shifted and there are cracks all over the walls, including a spot where you can see light coming in from outside. There's also buckling in the sidewalks and cracks in the streets - it looked like a very low budget 2012, any second I was expecting John Cusack to come up the street on a bicycle - and heaps of evil-looking black mud, which has come up from underground in bursts. Have photos of all of this except John Cusack. Will put him in using MS Paint.

But who were the real heroes of the earthquake? The community.

Ha ha, just kidding, it's Kate and Sam's three fish (Valentino, Cupid, and Luigi). Their tank crashed to the floor during the quake, and it was dark (the power was out) and there was glass and Kate and Sam were scared and assumed the fish were dead, and went into Mum's room. (This is while the Pilot and I slept peacefully on.) Three hours later, when it got light, they went in to clean up the room and Luigi moved! He was alive! All three of the fish were alive! And now they are living in a large jam saucepan, recovering from their Horrific Ordeal.

And now I'm not sure if I have work tomorrow morning because this:

So. Don't say nothing ever happens in Christchurch.

(Thoughts are with those who have had property damaged. Thoughts are also with those having to answer the phones at the insurance companies over the last couple of days.)


Anonymous said...

Agree. I woke up to a rumble in Wellington and thought "Humm earthquake" and went back to sleep. Woke up hours later to discover extent of quake and looked at some cool photos of bent railways. Realised that no one died and everyone was pretty much okay and thought (again) "Hummm earthquake. Well that was a bit exciting." Though yes, really I think everyone was excited that something happened in NZ and it trended on twitter.

Sam said...

LOLL @ 2012 comparison. So true (from what I've seen on the news anyway).

Glad you're ok though!

Jana said...

Wow, I haven't seen any photos of it yet, but everyone says town looks like a mess.

I'm out on Rakaia Island, when I woke up I thought it was a milker tank running through my house. When I realized what had happened I jumped for my TV... Haha, it's the important things in life!

It's good your house is still in tact.

Helga! said...

Delightfully flippant.
Cheers for that.

Anonymous said...

I was parked on Madras Street with a friend after a night out when it hit, we were lucky there were no falling bricks.. driving home with no street lights or traffic lights and with cracks and bumps in the road was interesting. Being in the car with shock absorbers, I think we experienced quite a lot less shaking than most people. Aww.

Holly said...

LOL at Kate trying to hide under the bed! I jumped out of bed and ran into a shelf! That hurt!
Glad your fishies survived. I wonder if you WILL have work tomorrow! I don't have school again at least until Wednesday, but probably for longer as according to my AT, the damage there is pretty bad! :O

cerebral e said...

Shit! I hope your plant is okay. Can you get it a new pot?

Christchurch earthquake is also all over the Australian news. We also can't believe anything happened in New Zealand (we don't know the names of the cities, other than Auckland). They keep showing this footage of a restaurant with its facade ripped off, except there's a huge Mexican flag hanging on the wall and all this red, white and green party bunting, and I keep thinking that there's been an earthquake in Mexico.

Juicebox said...

Central city's still cordoned off tomorrow. You definitely can't go into the office.

Free holiday wooooooo!

Ellie said...

Oh, so NOW you think you're the centre of the planet. You probably are. Can you tazer all the aliens before they get to us?

Catriona said...

"Devastation was widespread! Our pot plant fell over."

This and the paragraph about Twitter. Why are you so great?

a cat of impossible colour said...

This made me laugh for a good five minutes. Read it out loud to David and we both laughed for a further five minutes.

Judearoo said...

Great post. I was actually surprised how calm everyone there seems about it; I put on some New Zealand radio station to hear bout it and they were totally underwhelmed. And then they played 'Good Vibrations'. Ha!

Michelle said...

You're so staunch!! I lay on the floor under the bed for over an hour afterward, feeling every little aftershock, while my husband walked around checking for damage, and coming back every now and then to laugh at me!

Can't believe you didn't even get out of bed!! Geez, where's the effort Ally :P My husband works with a guy who lives right near the epicentre, and he and his wife just went outside and sat in their spa until it got light enough to see!

Gotta admit that i'm kind of glad that the rest of the country made such a big deal about us! Made me feel justified in my fear, hehe. Also we had no power for a few hours, so all we were relying on was the radio to inform us about what was going on.

Looking forward to your John Cusak pictures!

Juli Ryan said...

Hilarious. My husband says being in bed in the best place to be in an earthquake. If you ever meet him, just please don't get him started on the "triangle of life".

razork said...

No damage at my house or work, but have friends and family who have just had their houses condemned.

Sounds like as many as 1000 houses may be bulldozed.

Em said...

Glad you and the fish are ok. I'm ok too, in case you were wondering. I had a few emails from friends in London and Sydney(!) asking after my welfare because apparently Auckland is very close to Christchurch.
I think the big story here is that you are having sleepovers at The Pilot's place...

IT IS ALLY said...

Thanks, everyone, for your well-wishes. Glad all you Chch people are ok.

I mean, glad everyone else is ok too, but if you haven't been QUAKED then there's no reason not to be ok. No excuses! Although, that being said, one of my client's ads got fucked up by the design team this week and they were all "but...earthquake!" and I was all "oh did it affect your DESIGN EPICENTRE" and even though that doesn't make any sense I got an apology.

Mr London Street said...

Check my blog out. You've won something.

Jeannie said...

I'm here from Mr London Street--congrats!

Glad you're safe, too. We did hear that you had some big aftershocks.

Enjoyed the humor in your piece. I added you to my blogroll.

Holly Jahangiri said...

I'm also here from Mr. London Street. Why is it that all the EXCITING things happen in Christchurch?? Or Iceland...

And how often do you meet a novelist, tech writer, geologist-volcanologist-wannabe? Oh - just yesterday, you say? Great. Well. Bye then! :)

a cat of impossible colour said...

Ally, I had no idea you were a novelist, tech writer, geologist-volcanologist-wannabe.



William said...

slap your flipperz? Holy shit, you just find funny things throughout your blog, eh?

Came here by way of MLS, congrats!

Anonymous said...

Woah! There's calamities everywhere. Just a few weeks ago there was a gas explosion that destroyed 53 homes 4 miles away from where i live.