Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Wednesday 8th July - Parc Forestier

Not every day is an active day. There is plenty of inaction around here. This is a pretty standard sight:

The entertainment centre contains lots of books, headphones for the iPhone, the score I am learning for the Verdi Requiem (next choir performance) and so forth.

The round dark object is my favourite "Flat Hat" my sister gave me. The woven bag was purchased at the Market in Place des Cocotiers on Monday.

When we managed to rouse ourselves, we went out. On our list of attractions for a non-swimming day is the Parc Forestier, the Botanic Gardens and Zoo/aviary in the hills behind Noumea.

We set out in mid-morning with map in hand, noting that the map does not run to street names apart from the major roads. That doesn't really matter, seeing there are very few street signs. We headed northeast, thanking the designer of roundabouts again, as we circled one a couple of times. The road headed up to the hills, and then seemed to peter out. It became a dirt road, and then there was a temporary traffic light around a big building site. Our guidebook has alerted us to a road elsewhere in the island in which traffic goes one way for the first twenty minutes of every hour, then the reverse direction for the remainder. We hoped this was not an example. We were pretty sure we were lost, and then, there we were. They really aren't ones for signs around here!

We entered the grounds, and began reconnoitring. Viewed the site map,

viewed the vista

viewed the grounds

and decided we would proceed down the hill to the lake and look at the aviaries of native birds, including the flightless and endangered cagou.

It was beautifully done, with lush vegetation all around. The aviary where the cagou birds are, along with the notou and other pigeons and parrots, was really well done. A kind of airlock system of doors operated to let us in and keep them in. I am not much of a one to take pictures of birds behind wire, but eventually I did.

We have noted that the fashion for boys here is to wear hoodies, and almost always with the hoods up. Fur lined ones (great for these freezing days of only 24 degrees C), polar fleece, windproof, all kinds of hoodies. Hooded boys are everywhere. Viewing the danse nuptiale of the cagou, which we were lucky enough to see, gave us a clue as to where this might have come from. The cagou have very long white crests on their heads which flip up during their courtship.

Perhaps this is the inspiration for the hoodies? (I am joking. I am pretty sure that the hoodies are a direct import of US black gangsta fashion.)

After walking around and taking some pictures and generally enjoying being out in the fresh air, we settled at the Snack le Cagou for lunch. A Hook Mister (croque monsieur) each for Michael and I, a salade au jambon for Mum, and some pommes frites to share. The menu offered many delights, including the Dimension Pig (spine in bone), the Steaklet Spotted Apple, and the Pie Chart. A rumsteak perhaps? How could I have gone past them?

From Noumea2009

We returned via a scenic road (they almost all are, it being an island, and hilly) and back to reading and knitting.

I'm reading a terrific book - Rich Desserts and Captains Thin, by Margaret Forster. The story of the factory, the family, the Quaker principles set against the politics and the business practice of the time, are all fascinating. They form part of the utopian scene we travelled about a few years ago, alongside the Cadbury Family in Bourneville, and the Frys, and the Rowntrees.

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