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".

23 January 2007

Maré: As in Death, Life

Besides its wild and remote qualities, one of the things I loved about Maré was its simplicity. By this I mean the lack of artificial barriers between good and bad, life and death, land and sea. There were no complications, no analyses, no complexities. Everything on the island was what it was.

An example of this is the Maréan burial grounds (pictured). There are no looming tomb stones to mark an end or a separation between life and death. Instead, the Maréans are buried surrounded by living plants, colour, natural wooden fences, towering palms and the sea. One would say that their burial grounds are a place of celebration, of vibrancy and of all things, life.

My thanks to the Maréans for letting me share a photo of this sacred place with you.

Photo by Laurent Guiader, 2006.


Le Cagou said...

Salut a tous,
Hello Julie. Your discovery of this beautiful Island of Mare is spot on. Let me tell you one thing, if I may.
What a humble photograph you are showing us. It's very touching and your " recit " on Mare is accurate and true.

I have thoughroughly spent a few hours on your Blog and what a pleasure it has been for me.
It's funny, because at first I couln't make out of Who was Who. This reason beiing we usually start with the present day.
And then we think: is at all?
And then we go to the beginning. Same question: is at all?
This is when it all starts then.

The unfolding of some people's life at a given time and location just begings.
I have really enjoyed reading your diaries.
The very reason beiing that in your" journals " life is always ever present.
By this, I mean your warm feelings and kindness towards your family of course.
But more so about the people you meet and this part of the world you discover.
You bring geography and history together. Never a note of sadness.
Your accuracy of it all is second to none.
Please, carry on with your excelent work.
Merci beaucoup. Marc

Julie said...


I am very touched by your kind words and observations. If I can share the beauty and wonder of this place in a way that inspires others to come and visit it, or look back on it with tenderness, then I have done my job. I will never be able to do it justice, of course - for New Caledonia (like all places in the world) speaks to different people in different ways. But I am enjoying the adventure of it all and it encourages me to know that some of you are also enjoying it!

I have struggled trying to balance tourist/travel writing with stories about real life in Nouméa with a bit of historical context with a bit of stories about my family (friends and family read this blog just to find out what we are doing). Sometimes I question whether it is all working. So I apologise if you have not known "who was who" - and if you have wanted to know more. One day I will get it all clear!

Thanks again for your kind words - and all the best to you and all my readers, short and tall.


Le Cagou said...

Dear Julie,
Thank you very much for your kind reply. I am just glad that I have found your Blog. My only regret is not to have found it earlier.
But such is life.
When I mention " Who's Who " worry not Julie. You are doing extemely well and there is nothing else you need to do.
Julie " This is your life "
Do not worry, I am not behind you with the ever famous " Red book " ( long standing tribute programme to famous or less famous people in the U-K )
No, simply be encouraged, if you would please, by what you have achieved. It marveillous!

You have a wonderful baby boy born in the " Nouvelle-Caledonie." What on earth could you wish more?
A Neo-caledonian like my Great- grand mother was when she was born in L'Ile Nou ( Nouville ) Noumea New Caledonia in 1872.
Your dynasty has started on the Island of Light.
This is a plaisanterie of course, but a truism as well.
Julie, with your permission I would like to ask you to discover some part of the outskirts of Noumea.
Nothing complicated. It's historical and may be of some interest to our blogger friends. I will let you kwow if you allow me.
With my love and best wishes to you, your family and your readers.
A bientot. Marc

Julie said...


I would be more than happy to explore some outskirts - do post your suggestions! And while you are it, tell us a little more about yourself and your heritage.

All the best,


Elaine said...

I too am interested in Marc's heritage. As I am also a hier of a Calidonian, I am always interested in everyone with a connection to New Caledonia. Please inform us Marc. Why did you leave?

And Julie I'd be pleased if would share your experiences about the outskirts of Noumea. I await with interest to see and hear about it all.

And thank you for the picture of the cemetary. Do they leave names on the graves or is it all unmarked graves. Very interesting! When I saw the picture I was wondering if there were cemetaries like this on the Isle of Pines. It seemed vaguely familiar.

As far as balancing everything, your doing a great job. I love it all. Seeing your family,historic events and places and real life in Noumea. Great job. Thanks again!
Elaine Bowe