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Third Age Adventures

Just Cruising 1

NEW CALEDONIA | Friday, 22 April 2011 | Views [117]

Boarding was easy – maybe too easy. Or maybe I’m comparing it with flying! On board the “Pacific Jewel”. We’ve apparently been up-graded to level 9 instead of level 5. Sailed out of the harbour in rain –pity. Nice cabin – sorry, suite. I feel the cares of school flowing away almost immediately.

 Still overcast. The rhythm of the ship has become quite soothing. The “late breakfast” in the buffet. Dinner at the restaurant. Sitting in the atrium. The show at night.  But I’m not in my usual travelling mood. When we get to The Isle of Pines I don’t go ashore.  I look out at the island and I think ”It’s not as beautiful as Tahiti.”  That’s not a fair comparison, and I know it. But I’ve developed travel lethargy. It just seems too much trouble to get into the tender and go to an island to be disappointed. (A few years later I go on another cruise and it’s one of the most beautiful islands I’ve seen)

I decide to go off the ship at the next island – an island belonging to Vanuatu called Mystery Island. It’s uninhabited, but the people from the “Big” island go over and set up stalls. It was very pretty – albeit very touristy. Lots of photo ops. Gorgeous kids with enormous brown eyes and wide grins. 

  I’d recovered from the lethargy a bit, and so decided to get the shuttle into Vila when we docked. There was a line of them waiting – a queue all the way up the hill. As we exited the gate we were surrounded by people trying to entice us into their bus. No orderly sense of first person into the first bus!

Eventually we squash into one bus and off we go. We are dumped out into the middle of what looks like a tiny town – the roads are all potholed and filled with water from the recent downpour. We look for a café – find a little shop that makes us a nescafe with too much milk, and then wander the streets. The shops are mostly poor until we come to the big Duty Free Emporiums. All the booze, cigarettes and gadgets you could ever want. Finally I found a lovely gift shop, and I buy a pearl pendant for E, and a white stone statue for myself. In a short time we are back in the shuttle bus and back on the ship. I’m disappointed – I know people who love Vanuatu, and some who love Vila. There must be more to it, I think.

 Our stop in Noumea has been cancelled, due to a cyclone forming somewhere, so our last stop is the island of Lifou – which belongs to New Caledonia. I get off here as well, and it is

also pretty. I wander around – it seems strange to hear the people speaking French 

 Etnically they seem to be the same people as in Vanuatiu.

The Cruise has been very relaxing. I’d classify this trip as a much needed holiday.

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