After spending a month in Sydney with no really good job prospects on the horizon, I decided to head across the Tasman to visit friends in New Zealand. I spent a couple of days in Christchurch to explore the city and found evidence of the 2011 earthquake everywhere.
All around the CBD, buildings stood vacant and waiting for repairs. Many that collapsed in the earthquake didn’t look much different now. There were fences and barriers keeping the public out of the buildings. Unfortunately, I could find very little evidence that the area would become a vital working center any time soon.
It felt bizarre walking around the CBD during the day as streets were vacant of not only businesses but people. I felt as though I took a wrong turn and was on the set of a post-apocalyptic movie. Some streets were eerily quiet. Broken glass, crumbling cement and other shards of life were strewn about the area.
On a positive note, in an effort to revitalize the CBD, the city erected the Re:START mall, which houses stores, cafes and banks. These businesses have returned to the area inside funky shipping containers on Cashel Street. According to its website, Re:START began with 27 retailers and now boasts more than 50. The space is unique and worth visiting if you’re in the area.