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".
19 June 2007
15 June 2007
Have something urgent to send to a major developed country from a tiny island in the South Pacific? Sit back, relax, and above all, take a deep breath.
The fastest the post office can actually guarantee that your mail will reach Paris from Nouméa is six days. New York or Los Angeles or Toronto? Probably eight to ten days.
Our experience is that it takes 10 days to reach Europe and 14 days to reach the United States.
Why is that, you ask? I recently asked and the answer is: because the mail actually only leaves the island on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. And if you want your mail to leave, you have to get it to the post office the day before. So, for a Saturday flight, stop by the post office on the Friday (before 15:30 - in Nouméa: for other cities you might have to stop by sooner). If you make the mistake of going to the post office on Wednesday and thinking your mail will leave (same day service - who would have thought of such a thing?), think again. Your mail will leave on Saturday.
Which is why, with the wait time, they can only guarantee six days (via priority service or even a courier service such as DHL). Heavens!
12 June 2007
Today, a power walker of 14 months, Pablo goes nowhere without shoes - Sister Sophie's shoes, Papa's boots, Mama's flip-flops. As feet are not often wont to co-operate, Pablo has developed the technique of grabbing each foot with both hands and forcing it into the nearest shoe.
Where next, Pablo? And are you sure those boots are made for walkin'?
10 June 2007
If you're thinking of moving to New Caledonia for a few months or a few years, "Leave your silk and wool behind!" advises the local dry cleaner.
New Caledonia is so humid that in a short time your leather will show signs of mildew and later mould. Your silk will turn yellow (never to be repaired) and your wool will either sprout funny little holes and/or smell bad for the rest of its life.
We live and learn!
08 June 2007
We spoke live on the radio here in Nouméa about who visits our blogs, why we do them, how they have changed our lives - and if we should be censored/regulated. The debate was hosted by Thierry Rigoureau, whose questions were pertinent and thought-provoking.
To hear the fifteen-minute debate, click on the file below. Warning: it is in French. Warning number 2: I make a number of silly errors in French! Alas. My thanks to Franck and Denis for recording this and making it available on the web.
- Franck of Calédosphère (one of France's top 20 blogs, Calèdosphére has up to 15 000 visits on a given day).
- Calou of Les essais culinaires de Calou.
- Eric of NetWizz Jungle Blog.
- Sébastien of 5 minutes en Nouvelle Calédonie.
07 June 2007
Do you have a coffee addiction? Are you considering moving to a desert island in the South Pacific? Hmmm. Do. But you'll pay dearly for your addiction.
One of the wonderful things about New Caledonia is it is devoid of the Starbucks and McDonald's of this world (Nouméa does have two McDonald's, but that's it). It is charming, not being surrounded by big multi-nationals. It is charming, buying locally. It is charming, supporting the local economy.
- $12.95 for one pound of Peet's Espresso Forte
- $0.00 US sales tax
- $21.04 in shipping (standard international rate - all they offer as a shipping possibility)
- $16.62 local New Caledonian taxes
- $50.61 TOTAL (or €37,49 or 4 474 CPF, depending on your currency)
04 June 2007
Ten to fifteen minutes away from Nouméa (by boat) lies a little island called Ilot Maitre. We decided to take Sophie to spend the day there a few weekends ago. Laurent, Pablo and I had been once (for my 40th), and we wanted to show Sophie.
I didn't pick the best day. It was cloudy. It rained a little. And Ilot Maitre is about doing water sports (jet ski, canoe, paddle boats, snorkelling, etc.), lying by the pool, and soaking in the sun. When there is no sun, it can be a little sad.
However, we did manage to enjoy ourselves. We had a little visitor: a tricot rayé - who left us well enough alone (Sophie and I did keep our eyes on it, just to be sure).
Laurent and Pablo got in a nap.
Sophie caught some rays in the afternoon when the sun came out.
Pablo and I had a bit of a play.
And we all caught the end of a
01 June 2007
Sébastien Mérion's work is well known in New Caledonia and France. He has been involved in big French network interviews and served as the subject of articles. Recently his beautiful photos were used for the covers of the New Caledonia phone books.
His blog on New Caledonia attracts tremendous traffic for its beauty and professionalism from visitors around the globe. I personally think it is the best blog on New Caledonia out there: www.5minutes-caledonie.com Now we just need to get it translated into English ...