Day 4

Noumea, New Caledonia
Sunday, January 12, 2008

We were up, dressed, breakfasted and off the boat by 9am. The ship is too big for the passenger terminal so we docked in the container terminal and got shuttle buses into town. We booked two scooters for 11am and then set off walking into town to explore.
It was hot - really really hot - south pacific island type of hot - and sticky.

After wandering aimlessly for 1/2 an hour seeing nothing but cheap and nasty souvenier shops we retired to the pretty park and in the shade with a cool breeze had an icecream.
Back at the wharf we picked up the scooters - two 50cc Daelims which had definately seen better days. The helpful lady at the counter gave us a map of Noumea and drew the route we should take. The mountains to the north were beconning but as enticing as they looked, the 50 cc scoots would never have made it up there. Instead, we headed south past Lemon Bay Beach and decided it looked like a great place to swim - later. We then cruised up into the suburbs along a peninsula where the rich people lived. The mansions on the hill had fantastic views, large garages for their large 4WD's and massive security gates to keep the riff raff out. As is normal in these countries, the divide between the natives and the occupiers is huge.

We backtracked north and after getting only slightly lost and remembering to ride on the right hand side of the road,  we made our way to the cultural village. I had heard great things about this village and it certainly looked impressive architecturally but we had arrived pretty much right on lunch time, so it was all very quiet. No one was on the info desk or the cafeteria or the museum shop so we wandered in and out of rooms aimlessly looking for exhibits - the descriptions were all in French and it seemed to be more of an art gallery rather than depictions of Polynesian cultural life. It was also hot - really really hot, so after half heartedly gazing at stuff for another 20 minutes, we jumped back on the scooters and headed back into town for a swim.

The roads are quite good and well signposted. I managed to get my scooter going up to 60km/h - down hill with wind behind me and the other drivers didn't seem too annoyed at the slow tourists. They patiently waited and overlooked with the minimum of fuss. A quick bite to eat and a very quick dip in the bay and we had to get back into town to drop the scooters off by 3pm.

All in all it was a fantastic day scootering. Back on board we had a quick snack in the Horizon Court then relaxing showers and a qick snooze before dinner. 
Sunburn/ Rash update: The colour and the pain in my face, neck and chest has subsided but my legs have gotten much worse. The dots have formed a distinct rash which is spreading down my ankles and onto my heels.

01 Entering Noumea
Entering Noumea
02 Noumea harbour
Noumea harbour
03 French fashion
French fashion
04 The park
The park
05 The cafe
The cafe
06 The icecream
The icecream
07 The fountain
The fountain
08 The scooter
The scooter
09 The boardwalk
The boardwalk
10 The beach
The beach
11 Corned Beef
Corned Beef
12 Phil
13 The Cultural Centre
The Cultural Centre
14 Docked
15 The rash
The rash
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