When the Earth Shakes

Early afternoon Wednesday I departed Cincinnati and flew across the Ohio river. Destination: Antarctica.

I had a small layover in Chicago. I've flown to this city about 4 times in the last 4 months. Starting to get to know the layout of America by air.

From Chi I journeyed across the plain states to Denver, where I had 1.5 days of Ice orientation and a date. Mama, I know what your thinking when you read this.


Early next morning, hours of orientation about safety, safety and safety.

Once that was over I jumped in the coche negro and I drove to Miss Snow's stoop. I met this lady on the Ice a few summer seasons back and have had a secret crush since then.

We went out to a local Ethiopian restaurant and I had my first taste of Ethiopian food. It was like a varied mellow curry platter and the sour flat bread meshed will with the spices. You eat everything with your hands. I probably talked too much and ate too little, but I just wanted to throw myself out there in the mist of infatuation. Can't be a rockstar without a rockstar romance.

After din din I departed back to my hotel where I had to pack up my bags for an early departure.

The morning of depature. The Charger was a nice ride.

More orientation on safety.

Then out of Denver we flew.

Across the mountains.

Through the woods.

To Terminator's highway in LA.

After a long layover in LAX we embarked to New Zealand near midnight. For most of the flight I wrote stuff about cool stuff and dreamt about Hawaii. When I came to I realized we were in New Zealand.

We stopped at Auckland and made a pit stop at the pub to watch some rugby. Tonight Australia plays New Zealand and we've been advised by our program to be on the lookout for fights and craziness. Note to self: wear black. That's the color of the NZ All Blacks. I've already been jacked in the face once in CHC last year, so no big deal.

Auckland to Christchurch.

Christchurch. The city built by the English ontop of Maori land brought to partial ruins. Last year it was lively and vibrant with crowds of tourists and events, now it's very melancholy and mechanical as demolition groups work around the clock to bring down ruined buildings. The sound of concrete falling to the street can be heard around the clock. 10 or so blocks are gated off from the city centre.

This was a 5 second killer photo op. A newly wed Maori couple walking the river banks and a fallen cathedral in the background.

There's a big effort to rebuld and bring Christchurch back to it's feet, but the question remains, when will the shaking stop?

Most of the buildings have been gutted. Some restaurants still have the plates and drinks out on the table and have remained untouched since the big quake in February.

I am curious to see what's cooking now in CHC. I always used to go to a Japanese restaurant for eel, but now have to move on from that ritual. Pumpkin and Kumara Balls looked good.

And tasted better.

Laying in bed at night I can't help but think of what would happen when the walls come crashing down.

Now, if you could go back in time to Feb. 22 2011, to the very second the quake hit, would you? Not really aspiring to witness, but knowing so, I knew that as soon as I got near the city centre I'd be flooded with the energy that released at that moment when walls and bodies were falling above. It happened when I visited the WTC site in NY, it happens when I walk into a house where someone died, it sometimes happens when I touch someone that is going to die soon, it just happens. When I got near the gates the hair on my skin raised and I got the chills... screaming, running, chaos, smoke, sirens, debris, rupture, water... I was never there yet I could see and feel it. For just a split second I transcended back in time. I shrugged it off, regrounded and moved on. I knew I should have brought my white sage that now rests ontop the bookshelf in Ohio.

If you live on Mother Earth... what goes up, must come down.