This blog on New Caledonia is for those of you who ever wondered what life on a tiny island in the South Pacific might be like. Tired of bracing winter winds, the stress of an inner city or simply dreaming of a life change? This is a blog about what happens when, in the words of Yogi Berra, "you come to a fork in the road, [and] take it".

30 August 2006

Nouméa's Opening Hours

Sitting waiting for a pharmacy to open the other day, we were amazed when we looked at the opening hours:

7.30-12.30
14.30-19.30

Who in heaven's name gets up and goes to a pharmacy at 7.30 in the morning? Well, Nouméa does. I've mentioned before that the island folk rise and set with the sun. We do. This morning I received a phone call at 7.45. The sun had been up since 6.00 or so, so no problem. (I have to say, though, that it has been hard getting used to early morning phone calls and visits!)

All this being said, I was a bit perplexed earlier this week with regard to how people get things done in this country. Case in point: we had to purchase a "vignette" (sticker) for our car. People do this every year. You buy it at the post office. It is on sale Monday through Friday from 7.45 to 14.00. So I went after lunch, thinking things would be calmer then. How long do you think I waited in line, in tiny little old Nouméa (population: 91 386)? 40 minutes! So how does a working person buy a vignette here? You know, a person with an office job? You can imagine what it must be like at lunchtime when the demand is highest and the postal workers go to lunch leaving only one window open. I have to say, I stood there scratching my head in wonderment. It wasn't the first time. Nor will it be the last.

4 comments:

Jo said...

Hi, I've just discovered your blog on New Caledonia and am finding it fascinating.

We are heading to Noumea for a week of relaxation in late September and it's been great to browse your blog for the little facts that don't appear in guide books.

The sun setting everyday at the same time?

The early rising and midday shutting of businesses.

The sea snakes!

It all sounds idyllic, except for the sea snakes. And I will be a regular reader for the next few weeks.

Any tips on clothing for later in the day, does it ever get chilly? We are arriving from the tail end of southern New Zealand's winter, where we are still wearing hats and scarfs to work, and it is hard to imagine it will be warm, let alone hot!

By the way, your link for the CIA world fact-book is now outdated and should be:
https://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/nc.html

Thanks
Jo

Julie said...

Hi, Jo,

Thanks for your positive feedback. I am happy to hear that my ramblings are a little useful to someone, somewhere.

I will do a post on the weather here presently, but just so you know it is getting warmer and warmer here every day (between 22° and 30° - mostly around 23°-24°). It doesn't really get cooler in the evenings in September, but if you plan to go out on a boat or to one of the islands, I'd suggest bringing along a sweater just in case. It really is warm and sunny here, just like all the books say!

Thanks for the tip on my broken link. Much appreciated!

Julie

Jo said...

Yum, oh yum! I can't wait to feel warm air. Dunedin is not known for it's warmth, ever. We can hit the mid 20's in summer, but not that often, while two days ago I had to clear frost from the windscreen of the car before heading to work.

The first of what hopefully won't be too many daft questions: Is it likely to rain very often?

Jo

Julie said...
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