Thursday, March 09, 2006

Sacré bleu! In New Caledonia

Within an hour of arriving in Noumea, I realised that this would be my worst encounter with the language barrier. Nobody here speaks english. Even in the tourist industry, they speak French first, then Japanese. But I feel pretty good now, having spent the past 10 days in the outer islands and speaking at most 2 hours worth of english in that time. When I arrived, I understood about 5% of what was said to me, and now its up to about 25%.
But its totally worth the hardship. This country is absolutely beautiful, and, I might add, the French Caledonians are the most beautiful girls I have ever seen in one place. It is quite lonely though. For all of those 10 days in the islands, I didn't once have any other guests at the same hostel or campsite. That was a streak of 5 different hotels, on 3 different islands, all totally deserted. At one place the owner even left at night, and I was completely by myself, excluding the local stray dogs. But it was all about the experiences: last night I sampled a local delicacy, le rousette, which is french for bat. And believe me, it was definitely a bat. They left all the skin on, the little claws on the wings, and all the innards intact. Surprisingly there's not a lot of meat on a bat, and so today, being back in the capital Noumea, I felt compelled to have a little comfort food at McDonalds.
I'll try to get some pictures up before i leave, but the internet, like everything else in this country, is very expensive. I'll be off to Vanuatu on Sunday.

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