New Caledonia

CR and KN Williams
Thu 22 Jul 2010 22:04
Thursday 22 July 2010
We arrived safely on Tuesday. Pocket handkerchief sails ensured we were just offshore at dawn and could make out some lights [confused by fishing boats shining lights on the reef] and enter the lagoon in daylight. Then had to pick our way between reefs for 40 nm to Noumea where we could clear in..It wasnt difficult as they were well marked but tiring.
The french customs and immigration appeared immediately and a very serious health and safety lady who confiscated our onions and garlic,3 eggs and a few frozen prawns as hazards! We hadnt been planning to take them for a walk ashore but hey,Ginger and nutmeg were allowed to stay.
The brasserie at the marina has Parisian service but the steak frites were superb and they do an excellent plat du jour at lunchtime. Keith is determined to buy a live lobster and was told to go to the fish market at 4a.m. The alarm went at 3a.m. as I had forgotten to put the clock back an hour...At 4 the market was locked up. We will try again tomorrow at 6a.m. when the fishing boats are supposed to be back!
Apart from the people at the Capitainerie (including, customs and immigration), who are delightful, most of the people we have met (taxi drivers, waitresses and shopkeepers) are truly parisian; rude, unhelpful, bad tempered and obstructive. The difference from paris is that they have no sense of humour.
We both agree that it is much easier to cope with a 'Non' than the affable fijian way of never saying no, but just not doing anything.
Friday 9a.m.
The epic lobster hunt continues. None in the market at 6 a.m.but there may be some at 9 a.m.! Supposedly arriving by car not by boat...does this mean they have come off an aeroplane?
Anyway Keith has gone back to see...At least the buvette du marche did a very good coffee and croissant and croque monsieur .
Pouring with rain today but not cold.