Friday, October 05, 2007

Friday 5th October

New Caledonia

22 17.173 S
166 26.266 E

After a sleep in this morning we agreed to have a rest day, not doing very much, of course this meant going out in the car. We thought we would try and find a hardware store and see if we could get a filter for our drinking water spigot in the kitchen. We asked at the marina office for directions to a “big” hardware store, were rewarded with a map that you needed to have enlarged 20 time to be able to read but the road to take and the names of 2 hardware stores were indicated on it. Off we set, in roughly the same direction we had gone yesterday, after about 10 minutes we spied the sign for Mr. Bricolage – one of the stores off to the side of the highway that we were traveling on – how to get across to it was a different story. We took the next side road then made a number of wild turns into roads that looked like they were heading to the local tip but eventually, more by luck than anything else we stumbled across the entrance to the back of the shopping site where the elusive Mr. Bricolage was located. Gerry smugly patted himself on the back for getting us there (I have to say that it was also possible that we could have been lost forever in suburban Noumea). We went in and after asking in stuttering French for what we needed found that they didn’t stock them and that we would possibly be able to get them at some place in Duclos – a short distance away (or light years if you don’t know the roads!) Outside the store Gerry suggested that we have lunch before boldly heading where no man has gone before – he had spotted MacDonald’s just across the road and his stomach growled! Yes they are the same horrid cardboard burgers here as they are everywhere else that we have eaten them! Once we had eaten it was back into the fray, we found the other hardware store Sopema Gitem along the way by chance, they were unfortunately closed for the extended lunch hour that is popular here, we didn’t spot the place where we were told that we might find filters by the first store so at this point we gave up and made our way back to the boat where we spent the afternoon reading. We thought we would go cheap eats tonight and after just one pre dinner drink at the marina bar we headed across the road to where we had learnt there were Roulottes – the market they are near to is the one at the wharf not the one in town as we had originally thought. The Roulottes here aren’t set up the same way as the ones in Tahiti, there are no tables and chairs here, it is just a load of vans and the food is sold on a take away basis – this wasn’t what we expected and as we didn’t want to take food back to the boat we altered our plans immediately and went in search of a restaurant to sit down and eat in. Our first choice – Zanzibar in the heart of the city had the most wonderful smells drifting out from it as we approached, unfortunately they didn’t open until 19.30hrs – an hour to wait and we were starving already.
Instead we went for a drive along the coast road and ended up at a restaurant with the cheesy name of Mr. Bouef. – it wasn’t a promising name and we were the first to arrive (again) for dinner, they consulted their seating plan asking if we had a reservation (we didn’t) and eventually offered us a table; this caused us much amusement in a warped way as the entire restaurant was empty at this point – some 50 tables with not one person in sight! Still they didn’t know that we eat and run, we could have taken up a reserved table for the next 5 hours for all they knew. Despite misgivings about the name of the place the food was terrific; of course the price wasn’t too shy either. Again we were too full for dessert; I really MUST start with dessert next time! We were out of the place long before the majority of the diners had arrived; we returned home to the boat and read a while before going to bed.



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