|Typical Colombo Street - |
a bit like pre February.
We are now having aftershocks only rarely. Three weeks ago we had a 5.5 but there was not the cluster of a lot of larger shocks afterwards as we have had before. Since then I have felt one small one and heard one. It feels like the earth is going quiet again.
Sunday afternoon we drove into the city. It was surprisingly exciting, to be able even to say we were going to town. We walked in down Worcester Street, over the road and joined a steady stream of people walking down the path by the river to Hereford Street. The fences had moved back up Hereford Street. We could cross Oxford Terrace. It felt like we were stepping into a new future.
On the corner was the Vero building with the Boulevard Cafe under it. The building stands alone, the two on either side have been demolished. Three bulldozers still sit on the remains of the old Viaduct and the Bangalore Polo Club or whatever the latest names of those bars were - now they are gone I can't remember. The Vero building appears to have a green sticker but the Boulevard is not open.
On the other corner of Oxford Terrace with Cashel Mall, is the Tap Room. We peer through the windows. There was a table sitting with a glass knocked over and a hat neatly folded opposite it. Another table has two wine glasses standing, stained with evaporated red wine. Everything is covered in dust. As we walk up the mall with many others, we walked past a large carpark where The Bog and Cafe Bleu and shops used to be.
On the other side of the mall are still some yellow stickered shops like Dimitri's and Radar Records. Radar is still all boarded up. We then came to the new part. The brightly coloured containers were fantastic and they are arranged in squares so it is not just a dull strip. They were so packed with people we couldn't even get in them. There were queues for the coffee shops. With so much gone, it takes a bit of effort to stop, stand and remember what it used to look like. It is definitely a new place.
We walked up to Colombo Street, where the new fence is. Some people were crying, many others were looking happy.
It didn't feel scary and I didn't feel sad. It felt lovely to wander with so many other people back in our city. I could see the inner city being, again. But it was also sobering. You can walk down Colombo Street to Lichfield Street but none of those shops were open, it was hard to tell if their stickers were faded green or yellow. They were partly tidied up but still with piles of stock and shop fittings inside them.
It is going to be a difficult journey with different agendas fighting it out and I know some things will make me upset, I am already cross that Trade Aid wasn't there, seemingly not wanted. But I left with a mostly happy heart and wearing my watch. I finally this week got my watch strap repaired (not in town, just round the road) - it broke a couple of days after the February quake and it has been sitting waiting for me to get around to getting it fixed all this time.