Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The shaken city

Ok so this post isn't about fish, pheasants, ducks, dogs or mates but because I experienced some weird shit I'm going to have to write about it. First of all, I say RESPECT to the people of christchurch, who have hung in there through the series of earthquakes that have cut their city and homes to the bone, these people deserve a medal for standing up and fighting. Yesterday me and another pair of amateur comedians flew into ChCh. Our travel was pre-booked on Air NZ; as it happens they were the only airline operating due to the volcanic dust cloud from Chile's exploding Puyehue volcano. Personally I long ago feel that I learned not to mock god, so when Amateur Comedian #1 (let's call him Malcolm) said as we drove to the airport "let's roll the camera forward, and not be able to get home because of a big earthquake..." I should have just claimed mild to serious sickness and gone home. But he was driving. I guess I'm AC#2. AC#3 we'll call Stella. Stella was quiet, eerily quiet. Well, we landed in ChCh no problems. We got to our conference venue. Being the organisers meant we got quite busy setting out info packs and what not. 1pm was kick off. Guests and delegates were arriving. I got settled in and was chatting to some old codger about this and that when I heard what I thought was a low flying plane approaching, sort of that low turboprop hum like a C-130 is coming over. Seconds later it was all on as a quake hit. Old codger yells "FUCK!!!!!!" and leaps up. It would have been amusing under normal circumstances but I actually thought he was rather restrained. We sheltered in a doorway through to the kitchen area, luckily at that point the conference hall wasn't very full. As always, the show must go on, but some of the guests were slightly fretful and a couple were full on basket cases. News came through that it was a 5 point something on the Richter Scale. Guests and delegates filed in. We kicked off. Our guest speaker, Sir michael Hill wasn't able to land as the airport had shut down while the runway was checked. The organiser kicked off the speeches. Then the National Bank bloke welcomed the crowd. Told us how Chch was resilient, the people proud and staunch, and how business was growing again. The Microsoft bloke gave his presso, and then Sir Michael arrived and started up his chat. 160 odd people began to warm to his life story. What happened next was totally unannounced.... The whole room just began to lurch sideways, up and down, the roar was not quite deafening but pretty loud, stuff was falling & breaking and people were genuinely panicking to get out. The human condition is interesting. Personally I could see 200 odd people running towards big glass windows and all I could think was "idiots you're about to be turned into mince", but that didn't happen. The building was oldish, build of timber and flexing like a crazy thing. I was looking at the ceiling, wooden beams and boards and it was twisting like a demented possessed building... I was in a service doorway through to the hotel kitchen area and it was getting the bash, glasses and crockery flying and something hit me in the head. Still don't know what that was.

And then the craziest things... I walked outside and people were running this way and that, getting in their cars and departing (some were laying down rubber, kid you not). Took me a while to figure that they were simply being smart and geeting home before the roads gridlocked. We stood around and watched the most bizarre thing ever - liquefaction. Unheard of 10 months ago, but now a common descriptor of this silt laden water that simply oozes aout of the ground.

Check this out.

I got sent some vid by a colleague but have lost it, when I get it back I'll post.

As I said, RESPECT to the people of Christchurch, I'm pretty sure the novelty has worn off for them.

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