2 days after the event and things are starting to get back to normal. Yesterday outside of the CBD most of the food-type places that would normally be open were. The exception was the large mall where shop keepers were in cleanup mode and no customers were allowed in.
Schools have been closed to at least Wednesday (the boys love that!), but Canty university is closed for the week while they assess all the health and safety aspects.
It seems that most of the damaged buildings were the old brick ones, where the old mortar seemed to crumble under the violent shaking. Old wooden houses are mostly ok except for those with brick fireplaces where many of them have fallen off sometimes taking things out in the process and sometimes not.
and boy was it violent! My wife & I were "cowering" in the bedroom doorway - I say cowering because we couln't stand. You know when you stand on a ships deck in rough seas you can stand ok by absorbing the rock and roll by flexing your legs?, well I was trying but it was impossibe and for several full minutes (seemed like about 15mins solid) we were thrown around at the mercy of nature. It was the roughest and scariest thing I have ever encountered (and I don't frighten easily)!
And the shaking continues. The aftershocks were expected to taper off by dawn this morning but even now as I type we are still having very strong aftershocks (4+ on the richter scale). The cat has been freaked out and in hiding for the last 2 days and only appeared in the last few hours. Within a few minutes of turning up there was another aftershock and he was straight back under the bed for another few hours!
In fact if anything the aftershocks seem to be increasing currently instead of tapering off.
But, everyone is alive - one exception - one gentleman died of a heart attack. But given the earthquake was the same scale as the Haiti one, we have been very lucky. Everything else is just money now.
The most amazing thing I thought was the people checking up on us to see if we were ok - the first 3 people who contacted me were from London, Kuwait and Nepal! And then the NZ people started checking. The modern world is indeed a wonderful place from that perspective.
thanks for all the support folks.