Friday, August 22nd, 2003 – Day 185

Friday, August 22nd, 2003 – Day 185

At about midnight last night, I was just getting into bed when a massive earthquake jolted the south of the South Island not far from Queenstown.

According to GeoNet, the quake’s centre was about 70km northwest of Te Anau at a depth of 12km. The earthquake measured 7.1 on the Richter scale.

Timaru police reported numerous alarms around the city had been triggered by the tremor but there were no reports of any damage. The quake was also felt in Christchurch and Dunedin.

Queenstown residents reported a long rumbling after the quake, which it was thought was a rock fall.

Senior Sergeant Ian Freeman of the Southern Communications Centre said police were inundated with calls about the quake, with 115 111 calls in half an hour.

The area has been struck by several aftershocks since the 12.12am quake, the biggest being a 6.2 shake at 2.12am.

According to a spokes person “We’ve been very very lucky. An earthquake of this size near a population centre could cause a lot of damage.”

I had felt tremors in Peru but nothing like this. The whole hostel just moved back and forth. I could hardly keep standing. I walked underneath the room door just in case as it was getting worse and worse over the 30 – 40 seconds. After going back to bed, there were numerous smaller after shocks that moved the bunks. Quite a feeling.

Another aftershock of 6.2 magnitude hit at 2:12am, exactly two hours after the first one, which measured 7.1 on the Richter Scale. I did not wake for it.

I was up at 9.00pm and packed. Got my 20 NZD back for the hired duvet and 10 NZD for the key. Nice hostel with two TV rooms with Sky and lots of videos. Also a pool table and lots of magazines. Room was very small for four people and we kept on tripping over each others stuff. Thank God the two Irish girls did not snore last night. They were drunk the night before but had to go to bed early last night as they were leaving this morning. After from the quake I had a good nights sleep. All the media were on about the quake.

I walked down town and bought one picture of my bungy jump for 12 NZD. Went to on the NET for happy hour (9-11 in most places) and was wondering whether I would do the bridge jump again for half price (59 NZD). My bus was at 3.10pm today for Dunedin.

Nice of ravenx to mention and recommend my site on his web page. His comments included –

Excellent photo and trip blog of a world traveler. His photos are usually not your typical tourist snaps. I dropped in for the stories and images of Ecuador… but there is plenty more to read and view in the archives.

I did nothing this morning. I just played Command and Conquer: Generals for three hours. I was totally engrossed by the game. I like the strategy genre and when it was 3.00pm I glanced at my watch and my bus was leaving at 3.10pm. I ran up to the hostel and was exhausted as its uphill. The bus arrived on time at 3.10pm. I had rang my chosen hostel in Dunedin to book. It was a uneventful journey but long and sleepy as the bus driver had the heat on full blast. We arrived in Dunedin Railway station at 7.40pm. The price of the ticket was 30 NZD. They showed Erin Brockovich on the bus TV which is an OK film. Information on the Real Erin here.

I walked to the hostel but it was bloody cold. I was lucky as reception closes at 8.00pm. I booked in (17 NZD per night) as decided I was going to hit the town tonight. I had not been drinking for the past five days ad I had the urge to get drunk. I met a girl in the dorm (eight beds, seven people booked in) and we went down to the Woolshed to meet some of her friends. We stayed there until 11.00pm. They were poor backpackers and could only afford one drink. It was a bit silly drinking with them as they sat at the table with no glass in front of them. I know Youth is wasted on the young but it does not mention that youth have no money to enjoy their youth (I am not saying I am young by any means).

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Main Square (22-08-2003)

Anyway it was quite but I headed back to the hostel for a while. The dorms are stuffy and too small for 8 but you can get smaller dorms. The staff are very cool and friendly though and the common area is great with a pool table and free Internet access. I headed out again at midight to Captain Cooks which was heaving. Most people there were in fancy dress. After talking to a few guys they said about 1000 Christhurch students had driven down in 170 cars in a event called Undie 500. Basically students in Christchuch have to buy a car for under 500 NZD which is road worthy etc. and decorate it. They all came down in team cars with funky decorations. The fancy dress was wild though from geeks to freaks. The queues in the popular pubs were massive. The TUI jugs of beer were only 5 NZD. From there I wet to KCs with a few guys. I was pretty drunk and went home at 3.30am.

What is the Undie 500?

This epic journey departs from uni at lunchtime on Friday 22nd August (The last day of term). Over 100 cars will attempt the almost 500km pub crawl to Dunedin in cars worth no more than $500. Needless to say, not all are successful.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Dunedin – New Zealand – Undie 500 Poster (22-08-2003)