When the days become shorter, it is dark in the morning, and the weather gets cold, our thoughts turn to warmer climes. Fortunately the Man of the House is a forward thinker, and when it was hot and muggy (January) he began planning our mid-year holiday in Noumea.
We were inspired by Julie and Martin's honeymoon in France to explore France on our doorstep. Only two hours away by plane from Sydney, New Caledonia is a completely different culture. A blend of Polynesia and France, it offered sunshine, French bread and cheese, practice in speaking French, and perhaps some snorkelling.
Michael organised it, and here we are. We are staying in a two-bedroom apartment overlooking Baie des Citrons, close to the touristy section of Anse Vata. We have a fantastic view of the ocean and the mountains, the pine trees. It is glorious.
Alas we also have an aural view - the noise from the generators of the restaurants below impinges on the sound of the ocean. We are used to it now, but would prefer it not to be there.
There is wifi in our hotel, so I am sitting on our balcony typing this. As it is a self-service apartment our first priority was supplies, so after breakfast in the very small hotel breakfast room (coffee and chocolate croissant for me) we set out.
We have a car. It is a manual, so a lot of brain power is used up in changing gears and staying on the correct side of the road. I drive, Michael navigates. There is minimal bickering as we negotiate the way. We stop off at an ATM and get some cash (takes a bit of figuring to decide how much to get) and then Michael navigates us to a supermarket. It wasn't the one we thought it was going to be, but it had stuff. We bought apples and milk and chocolate and washing detergent and eggs and bacon and cheese and bread. Nothing exciting, but it means we will be clean and won't starve. I was interested that fresh milk was not to be found - my execrable French asking for lait was met first with incomprehension, then I was directed to the longlife milk. My requests for oeufs went better, and I had to wait for the fresh ones to be brought in from the delivery truck outside. No plastic carry bags were given away at the checkout, and not any paper ones either. We bought three shopping bags (that polyester strong fabric) and will use them while here, add them to our Hawaiian collection when we get home.
Naturally my attention falls to the ground and discovers a not terribly exciting array of manhole covers.
It is warmer than Sydney is, but it is also windy. We are not inclined to go swimming today, but see intrepid souls out there, some in what looks like a group learning something.
We are all relaxing now after the strenuous shopping and will consider what the afternoon will bring a bit later. We are on holiday speed now, and that is veeerrrrrry sloooooowwwwww.
On the agenda (for later) is some French fashion, and maybe a polynesian muu-muu or two, preferable voluminous and frilly and very bright.