Sunday, 28 December 2008


Christmas has been and gone and today we head off for a holiday in Mare - the largest of the Loyalty Islands.

We ate masses over Christmas - a lovely pork roast on Christmas eve and prawns, pepper-seared tuna (spicy on the outside and rich, red and raw in the middle - mmmmm) and grilled vege salad for lunch on Christmas day. Max started the day with his stocking, beautifully made by clever Angelique, and we finished the day with a leisurely swim out at Kuendu.

My parents are here and they have assured us that their stay with us reminds them of the years we spent in living in Singapore in the 90's. I'm not so sure about the similarities - but I can see that the heat, Christmas flame trees and some of the interesting smells that waft up from the gutters all evoke memories of life in Asia.

Last night we treated ourselves to dinner at a local restaurant. Max, being a 7pm bedtime boy, is normally left at home with our trusty babysitter when we go out. Last night he came with us. He was a superstar - buoyed by the crooning santa who sang old French classics along with (actually a few seconds behind) an old hurdy gurdy mouth organ. Very tacky but hilarious. Rather than a sled, sleigh or other means of transport, Santa rocked up in a van with 'rent a santa' emblazoned on the side...I guess Santa's got to earn some money for all those pressies for next year!

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

That sun again

It comes up, it goes down.  We watch.

Wednesday Playgroup

A few weeks after we arrived in Noumea, the english speaking play group was set up by a lovely lady who's been here a few years. Everyone's welcome and the kids all run around like crazy things for an hour or so before dinner time. We have made some fantastic friends through play group and we were sad when one of our friends had her final playgroup today before heading home tomorrow (blame the financial gloom, doom and low nickel prices).

Normally play group involves lots of chatting under the shade of the mango trees and the occasional dose of refereeing between the kids as they gear up towards dinner time! Recently, there was a Christmas BBQ down at the beach at Anse Vata. We went with our friends Kate and David who were visiting. It was such a treat to go out for a swim with Kate while Max paddled with his dad in the shallows. It was a lovely day and I think we all looked rather glam...

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


When I think tropical - I think pineapple, coconut and mango.  Before coming to Noumea I'd never have thought strawberries...although I might have thought milkshakes!

When you drive from Noumea out to the airport, or when you go for a Sunday drive out to Paita, there's a mandatory stop - Les Fraisiers de Paita.  They do the best strawberry milkshakes in town and at the moment they have massive platters of big, delicious strawberries.  I reckon that strawberries are one of the best things about Christmas.

So on Sunday we headed out to Dumbea for a swim in the river - the swimming hole we went to was a bit crowded, but the river is beautiful. Max lost it and had a massive sleep in the car so on the way home we stopped for cheeky shakes.  Here's the evidence...

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Les Jeudis du Centre Ville

On Thursdays, Max and I jump into the car (actually - Max climbs into the car now) and head off to the early evening market to meet Charlie after work.  Every week there's a different theme, most often it's a different region in New Caledonia.  I like the Loyalty Island evenings the best.  Everyone comes over from the islands with their stuff to sell: home made cakes; carefully tended plants; woven baskets...heaps of stuff!  There's also masses of food.  We've tried taro, chouchoute, lots of different nems and samosas and even little beignets with vanilla pods inside them.  One evening there were huge crabs for sale - they sold out really fast except for one little stash.  These were let out and a crab-catching contest took place...catch your crab and you get to take it home.  I was too put off by the massive pinchers to get in the ring with the crabs!

In the lead up to Christmas, there will be some Christmas markets.  I can't wait to see the crazy things on offer.