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".

22 February 2007

Ouvéa: Food and Water

Food and water was in limited supply on Ouvéa. Certainly not at the four-star Hôtel Paradis d'Ouvéa - it was always possible to order lunch or dinner there, though at rather costly prices. I mean that as we were on the southernmost part of the island, without a car, our options were limited.

Photo by Laurent Guaider, 2006.

We did have the "Snack Fassy" (pictured above) down the road (within walking distance) which was run by locals. The Kanak ladies served up one menu a day (usually something like chicken and root vegetables with, say, a papaya salad) and that was it. We ate there on the first day. That night I was terribly ill with a tummy bug. Unfortunately, I was ill for the entire week.

It was wonderful that we had a great hotel where I could rest and stay cool, but it was not the greatest for Laurent, Sophie and Pablo. Poor Laurent had to get a ride to a pharmacy (the only one, about 20 minutes away by car), take care of Pablo, try to entertain us while I felt under the weather, spend lots of time at the pool. We weren't able to explore the island as we normally would have done. Sophie got sick later in the week and Pablo got his first fever at the end of the week as well.

All of this could have been due to the water that I drank from the tap on the first day. Not a good idea on Ouvéa (we quickly switched to bottled water). As Ouvéa does not have any rivers or reservoirs (except for a few water holes), fresh water is practically non-existent. In fact, the water on Ouvéa is desalinated sea water. When we returned to Nouméa we learned that the desalination plant on the island had had problems and that the water wasn't good. The problem has long since been fixed.

It could also have come from something I ate at the hotel restaurant. We think Pablo came down with something at the end of the week as I was breastfeeding, and that Sophie got a bad egg somewhere. Who knows?

The good news is that we got in lots of rest and games of Uno!

14 comments:

Jo said...

Oh Dear! I am sorry that you all were so ill!
(and somehow it still it seems like paradise to me...but what a price to pay....ouch!)
Oh- the joy clean water can bring!

Ruth Pharris said...

To my sisters: From the first postings Julie wrote about Ouvea, I was thinking that perhaps she had found the perfect place for our sister's week-end 2008--but on second thought--perhaps not this little portion of paradise!!! :-)

Jo said...

Ruth- we just bring our own water! And Food!
and NO eating at the Snack Fassy!
We can live off the land- catch our own fish!
How tough can that be?
Julie- please sign us up! March 2008 works for me!

Ruth said...

JO----OH RIIIIIGHT! And when did YOU become such an adventurer little missy? Aren't you the one who invented our princess theme? Princesses DON'T fish!!! They have someone to fish for them. Oh, I see! YOU are doing the fishing for the rest of us. AND toting water for four? Good idea. See you there.

Princess Jo said...

Dear Ruth,
Whoever said I would be toting water for FOUR?
I have seen 3 ENTIRE episodes of "Survivor" and I know the drill! I am bringing MY water and MY fishing pole! The rest of you go down to the Snack Fassy to collect your chow, and then the youngest and strongest get to vote you off the island....
survival of the youngest and fittest- it's a way of life in these parts....:) Get used to it Girl!

Julie said...

Dear Sisters All,

I'm dying laughing!!! And you must ALL go. Ouvea is excruciatingly beautiful if only a little limited. Just make sure you BUY bottled water (much cheaper at the snack than at the hotel), have a rental car and eat intelligently. (It could have been the crab from the lagoon that made me sick - from the hotel. I would avoid shellfish if I had to do it again.) But the best is yet to come ... you haven't heard about Lifou yet. Stay tuned!

Julie

Will said...

hey, i recently found out i will be living on new caledonia for the next two years starting in March. obviously the first thing i did when i found out was to find everything i could about new caledonia. Unfortuneatly, everything i found seemed very touristy, (hotel/resort info, etc) until i came across your blog. I guess this is my long, round-about way of saying thanks because i found your blog to be so very informative

Elaine Bowe said...

Well my dear sisters, you know I have never claimed to be a Princess, so if you pay my way to this paradise island, I'll carry your water and food! I will bring my own fish pole and TRY my hand at fishing for all of us. =))) Even your family Julie if you wish to go back. WE may go hungry !!

Sorry for your unfortunate illness Julie, on the other hand UNO is fun---but on a paradise island??!!!!!

Le Cagou said...

L'enfer au Paradis.
Hell in Paradise, that seems to recap your vacation in Ouvea Julie.
There is always a next time.
You all survive however and you are here to tell the tale.
Just imagine the first Settlers reaching this island. The land was certainly bare of " Drug store and General store too."
But I do sympathise with you.
I will come back tomorrow with more infos on our elusive Tunnel de Tonghoue.
No such building on Ouvea Julie, so worry not.
A bientot everyone. Marc

Mary said...

Julie,

That doesn't sound like much fun at all. Yikes, some holiday. Hopefully you were able to catch up a bit on rest and this sounds bad but, I always think the only good side of the stomach flu is you loose weight, other that that it is h.... You survived!

Ruth said...

Marc's comment really made me think--just imagine what it must have been like to be an explorer back in the day. Not just NC but anywhere--the 1620's for example when the "Pilgrims" landed on the east coast of America. Or the brave souls who headed west to California. I can't believe I got to this age and never thought about illness (no 20 minute trip to the nearest pharmacy for meds) or lack of water or food.
Instead of reading all those fairy tales as a child, perhaps I should have delved into history books a bit more. At any rate, I'm truly glad not to have lived back in the "good old days". Perhaps I DO have princess blood in me somewhere--or maybe it was just one too many fairy tales!!!
Looking forward to the excursion to Lifou, Julie.

Ruth said...

Marc's comment really made me think--just imagine what it must have been like to be an explorer back in the day. Not just NC but anywhere--the 1620's for example when the "Pilgrims" landed on the east coast of America. Or the brave souls who headed west to California. I can't believe I got to this age and never thought about illness (no 20 minute trip to the nearest pharmacy for meds) or lack of water or food.
Instead of reading all those fairy tales as a child, perhaps I should have delved into history books a bit more. At any rate, I'm truly glad not to have lived back in the "good old days". Perhaps I DO have princess blood in me somewhere--or maybe it was just one too many fairy tales!!!
Looking forward to the excursion to Lifou, Julie.

Ruth said...

Oh brother--sorry that got posted twice! :-)

Princess JO said...

Ruth- YOU talk WAY too much!