Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Assorted updates

  • We leave Winnipeg for Christchurch tomorrow morning, landing Friday morning Christchurch time.
  • My travel was booked through the University's travel agent; I still spent an hour on hold with Air Canada sorting out conflicting luggage allotment rules.
  • Winnipeg's a great town in summer. What was shabby and dated twenty years ago is now retro-chic. Wait long enough and all that's old is new again. I base my wardrobe on such expectations.
  • The Christchurch Airport has been iffy between regular daily earthquakes magnitude 5 and up and volcanic ash from Chile. I hope we don't get stuck in Auckland; we'll see.
  • Getting back into the daily earthquake routine fills me with dread.
  • Nobody in North America knows squat about what's going on in Christchurch. It was a headline in September and February; everybody reckons that all's back to normal. As update for folks who've lost track:
    • there was another 6.3 last week, there are between a half dozen and a dozen earthquakes every day magnitude 3-5.3, with strong potential for bigger ones
    • Literally 60% of downtown is set to be bulldozed
    • The army cordon around downtown is set to be in place for another six months
    • The boil water notice from the last quake seems to have been lifted, but there's going to be liquifaction silt all over the place, random road closures, sewerage failures.
    • All the normal bits of life you're used to in your town: the places you take the kids on a rainy day; the place you usually go for coffee; your barbershop; the swimming pools for the kids - just imagine that more than half of those are gone for a few years and the others are touch and go. And that nobody in town's getting any sleep. My twitter feed's full of Christchurch folks up at 3 in the morning with aftershocks every damned night.
    • We'd just say bugger it and stay here a while longer: Susan can work remotely. But I've got lectures to give in a couple weeks and NZ / Australian conferences ahead.
  • Blogging will continue to be very light while on the road and prepping for the NZAE meetings; I'm now giving two papers there rather than one as a wait-listed paper was drawn at the last minute. I'm only at NZAE on the Thursday as I'll be in Oz for a few days mid July and am trying to limit the number of overnights I'm away from home while the aftershocks continue.


  1. Well, if you do get stuck in Auckland, I know this little bar...

  2. @PC: Will get in touch if it happens!

  3. You can always move to the Western side of Christchurch, which is in much better shape.

  4. My brother who is relatively wealthy has decided to walk away from his ++million dollar home,he will take with him his world class medical skills.
    And I would do the same if I had the financial ability.
    Shifting silt has ruined my spine literally and spiritually.
    My Thai girlfriend says 'take me back to Christchurch with you".
    That is go from a bustling vigorous City where everything happens and all the time in the heat
    .. and go to the spartan cold bitter redneck collapse.

    She has no idea, and why would she.

    What do you say to her, she looks on Internet and says yes I want to go, you have nice hills, and the sea, and you have a kitchen, I will cook for you and look here is a kowhai flower.

    Next year you will have less students, and more impoverished badly dressed people .. morose and depressed more prozac dodging big .

  5. @Paul: Pre-quake Christchurch I loved. Sure, it didn't have the 24/7 hustle and bustle, but I didn't want that. We'll see how things go over the next couple years....