Sunday, 8 July 2012

Week 8 - Real Earthquakes & 'cold nose syndrome'

unusual name for wine...
Hello Everybody,

There's only one real story to talk of this week and that's the magnitude 7(!!!) earthquake we had here on Tuesday evening. That's a bigger earthquake than devastated Christchurch last year. The difference being this quake was over 320km deep. Whilst watching TV, there was little rumble, and then the entire building shook for 3-5 seconds, followed by 30-50 seconds of small ground rumbles! Now apparently, the duration of this earthquake was very long, so my colleagues told me. Many of my colleagues who live close to the sea, said they heard it coming before they felt it. People reported small items falling from shelves, or glasses of water being knocked over. A few texts (SMS) arrived from friends and colleagues, asking if i'd felt it and was I ok? - (Thanks to those of you for those messages. It was really appreciated). A friend of mine who worked at a nearby hospital told me they had to find a stretcher to take a patient from the operating theaters, as the lift was not working. Now all these issues came for a quake that was so far below the earth. I can only imagine what the feeling is like to an earthquake closer to the surface. As advised by a friend here, before going to sleep that night I made sure I had a torch, shoes, and warm clothes by my bedside, just incase anything happened in the night.
That wasn't the end of the earthquake drama this week. Whilst speaking to a Vibi on Skype on Saturday morning, another floor shaking quake struck the North Island, this time lasting just a few seconds, but a reminder of one aspect of my new life that might not be so easy to get use to.
So, the pictures above and below this paragraph are from a little suburb of Wellington called Seatoun. It's quite a nice little area with nice big houses, and as you can see, a gorgeous little beach.  I was here with my colleague Louisa who has become my local tour guide, though is soon to be heading to 'London town', so I hope my London friends will show some good old UK hospitality to her when she arrives. It's so hard to explain in words, and even with pictures, just how fresh the air feels here, and what an unusual feeling it is to be somewhere so open, and where there are big spaces between houses. Speaking of the houses... I've mentioned that the housing here is very different, and as nice as the houses are here, they are not insulated in the same way, and many people have to buy additional heaters to keep the rooms warm.. This has led to an unusual phenomena for me - 'cold nose syndrome'.
It's not just houses that causes this affliction - here is a list of places I have experienced an attack of this syndrome... 1) people's houses, 2) the office, 3) even the cinema!!!! The strange thing is that the temperature is not even low... but when different rooms in the same building have different temperatures, you can really feel the difference!     

I do want to mention one more things this week. I got a tip to go to the Cuba Street night markets. I wasn't really sure what to expect as I heard there were stalls of different types of food etc... so I was a little surprised to find just a few stalls, with some jewelry, a parked caravan with burgers, and a 'Crepe' stall. (There were some other things, but you get the impression!) My totally favorite thing though, was the rather random karaoke set up in the little square, where people with little musical ability were singing their hearts out for the small crowd to appreciate.... and take a look at this guy!

I have to say, this is what karaoke is about for me! I prefer to see people just going for it, and especially when it's not to impress anyone and just have fun! Reminds me of some seriously ear piercing karaoke sessions in Vietnam.... just brilliant! I might even have a go myself next week! Any suggestions of songs to sing on New Zealand's streets???

Regards from New Zealand

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