A couple of weeks ago, before the world became familiar with names like Sendai and Fukushima through its front pages, I was watching the debut of the current season of the Amazing Race. I was quite excited to see them land in Sydney and head to Manly, since I had been there not so long ago myself. To see them ride the same green and yellow ferries, disembarking at the Manly Ferry terminal, it gave me a happy thrill to recognize those places I’d been to as part of the AR course. The weather on the day of the race was sunny, unlike the overcast day I was there. I always thinking of Sydney as a sunny place, so TV gave me a real picture that matched that in my imagination, and even over-rode the reality of my actual experience of hiking between the Spit and Manly: cloudy and muggy.
The very next day, another place I had just recently visited was featured on TV, although in a tragic way: Christchurch had been hit by an earthquake, again.
I had taken this photo from my hotel room. I didn’t have a chance to visit inside the Cathedral on that trip in December 2010. But in walking around downtown Christchurch, I came across plenty of buildings that had been cordoned off, piles of rubble still in situ, having been damaged by the earthquake in September 2010. Some of the streets were closed off still, so that with my tourist map in hand, I had to detour several blocks to visit a friend staying at another hotel. The impact of that earthquake had been relatively mild, there was no loss of life in part due to its occurrence in the wee hours of the morning.
This February earthquake had a more severe impact, with loss of lives, and greater destruction of buildings. It’s sad to know that the subject in this photo I took – the steeple of the neo-Gothic cathedral – toppled down.