February 24, 2011
An earthquake hits Christchurch in New Zealand.
I must be living in some sort of a bubble here in Australia. The first I heard of it was well after it occurred, through a Facebook exchange with my friend B. Her daughter is traveling in New Zealand and is safe, thank God. Death toll in Christchurch is at 90+ and expected to rise. Hundreds are still missing.
In 2002, I was here in Australia attending The Competitiveness Institute’s international conference in Cairns. On my way back, I made a stop in Melbourne to meet with the federal agricultural department before heading home. When I finally got downtown from the airport, the city seemed eerily silent. The normally jovial, head-bobbing-in-greeting Aussies …were not.
Peculiar. A different culture in the booming metropolis of Melbourne perhaps? As I settled into my room at the B&B and turned on the telly, my questions were answered in a horrific stream of bloody, chaotic footage.
Two words: ‘Bali’ and ‘bombings’. As I traveled from point A to point B (Cairns to Melbourne), this senseless act of terrorism had occurred, tragically taking with it 202 people including 88 Australians and a Canadian – who happened to be a friend of my husband’s – M.
I had only met M on a couple of occasions. Rugby players are famous for outrageous acts of weirdness. Many years ago, in a more than inebriated state, M was inspired to give us girls a table-top strip show at The Artful Dodger in Saskatoon. It was B’s stagette. M demonstrated great showmanship and skill but, thankfully, only stripped down to his skivvies – Looney Toons’ Tasmanian Devil boxer shorts.
That was and always has been a very lasting, colourful picture of M that I carry around in my head.
Man-made and natural disasters; it’s heart-breaking. I pray for the wounded and dead and for their families in Christchurch.
Below, a photo of the memorial which lists the W.A victims of the bombings. It is situated on the ridge of Mount Eliza in Kings Park not too far from where I am staying at Trinity and overlooks the city. The memorial is specifically designed to frame the sun’s rays at dawn on 12 October each year and faces in the exact direction of Bali. (photo sourced from: Wikipedia)