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".

24 July 2006

Granny on the Road

A rather magical friend arrived in Nouméa on 11 July 2006. Her name is Anne Bercot. If you don't know Anne, you'll be fascinated by her. If you do know Anne, you'll be excited to learn that she has just begun another rather impressive project ...

Anne has begun a new life at the age of 63. She has just started a SEVEN-YEAR TOUR of the WORLD and we are lucky enough to have her start with us. Anne is planning to travel the world on her own, hopping from here to Fiji, Vanautu, Tahiti, New Zealand, Australia and then off to South America, the United States (by cargo boat, plane, foot, thumb, whatever!), and who knows where else. She has already stayed with two tribes here in New Caledonia, has learned more about the native culture than we have, has hitchhiked down the island, slept in a "case" (hut) on the sea, dined with a local TV presenter and has a list of New Caledonian contacts a mile long!

If you want to know more, see Anne's blog (which she is maintaining in English and French). You will learn more about her reasons for her seven-year journey, why she has started here, what she is experiencing, and where she is going next. I highly recommend

12 July 2006

Kanaky (New Caledonia)

Photo by Laurent Guiader, 2005.
Kanaky is the locals' name for New Caledonia. Kanaky - the land of the Kanaks. In the center of Nouméa you'll find a spot that has been constructed for, and as an homage to, the Kanaks (pictured above). Of Kanaky's 200 000 or so inhabitants, the Kanaks make up the largest cultural group at 42.5% of the population. The island still belongs to them, in theory (but far from in practice). Unlike what has happened to the American Indians and the Australian Aboriginals, the culture has not been entirely stripped from the Kanaks. Their 32 dialects are still alive, they follow their own customs and laws, they still live in "cases" (huts), but they are also integrated in schools, and less so in the workplace. My feeling is that their land is exploited (for nickel) and that they are little compensated. They are often less qualified for the better jobs in New Caledonia and suffer from poverty and alcoholism. But the fact that their culture still lives gives me hope that they will one day regain possession and power of their homeland.

05 July 2006

Spot the Tourist!

My mom visited all the way from Florida some weeks ago and a wonderful time was had by all. We made another visit to Phare Amédée, visited the Parc Forestier and enjoyed a guided visit of the Centre Tjibaou. Pablo joined us on all these outings (as captured above) at the ripe old age of 6-8 weeks old. Born here, I guess he doesn't really count as a tourist, but we do stand out in New Caledonia. Maybe it is our pale skin, our reddish hair, our metropolitan clothes. Maybe it is the money we bring to the island, our English-speaking ways, our love of this place. But no matter, we love it here, minorities or no.