Isle Of Pines
By Murphy's decree, the furthest "tender" trip was also the bumpiest. A lose-your-hat breeze was blowing on shore, the palms bending like eavesdroppers at a door. The ranks of pines stood tall, though, as uniform as a model railway diorama.
I/O/P is part of New Caledonia and was formerly a French penal colony. It's more modern than Vanuatu, with a noticeably European style. For example, locals vend similar products, but from the trunks of their Peugeots and Renaults. The buildings are prettier, decorative rather than merely functional.
A stroll down a tarred road - stepping aside for the gendarmes in their blue Land Rover - took me to an expensive restaurant/bar opposite a resort. I tried a bottle of Nouvelle Caledonie's No. 1 biere, appropriately titled Number One. In the adjoining souvenir store, I sheepishly paid 500 Pacific Francs for two variations of Twisties we don't have in Oz - Mexican and Pizza.
What else? Teenage cruisers on rented bicycles, skinny hounds shadowing picnickers, weird landforms (a miniature wooded island within a bay), the exotic combination of Melanesian women and the French accent. At a boutique above the jetty, I grabbed a hand-carved leather fridge magnet for DL and HV's collection, plus four lovely illos that AK - the artistic member of the family - may wish to frame. Mum's present will have to be an item of P&O merchandise.
Movie: "Miss Potter" (2006). Stop sniggering at the back.
Yank junk: Jolly Rancher Hard Candy. Mmmm...blue raspberry.
Sport: Commiserations to the Kings. Yay Knights!