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Many Adventures of a Nomadic Poet A young poet with Asperger's makes travel his passion, and away he goes...

Coucher de Soleil

NEW CALEDONIA | Friday, 3 March 2017 | Views [414]

Three days I've been here and I'd still yet to nail a good photo. Last night when I had a rest I was drowning in my own sweat, though it cooled to a point where sleeping was bearable. Only one other camper stayed at the campground last night. I sense that many facilities here in New Caledonia are geared toward domestic tourism as there are no English signs most places and many restaurants (even in Noumea) don't have English menus. I'm exhausted; I haven't had a proper night of sleep in the past five nights as all manner of things have kept me awake. A French teacher named Brigette would give me some ideas for good photo ops. With a cup of coffee (cafe noir) and some peanut butter smeared on French baguette, I set out for Baie des Tortues for some good photos. New Caledonia may not be, at first glance, as drop-dead stunning as some other Pacific islands, but it's everything the Pacific is not: topless girls, camping, delicious food, clean roadsides, and a rather small number of churches. It's nice to have a break from religious nonsense! In a way it's both easy and hard to travel here: a wide variety of food and good infrastructure make travelling easier than other Pacific islands, but costs and the language barrier make things difficult at times. Having to cancel Isle of Pines put a damper in my plans. Finally I had some good vistas and finally I nailed it!

These bent Norfolk pines intrigue me; how are they bent like this?

Two pretty French girls turned up, but with their boyfriends. A friend on Norfolk said to try to "meet" a sexy French lass but he doesn't realize that 99% of the time I fail at that mission, and the other 1% it's pure Chris Farrell luck. Oh well, this trip ain't over so anything can happen. For now I wanted some great photos on this hot, hot day. From the statue of Notre Dame des Flots (Our Lady of Tides) I sat whilst the clouds rolled in for a cool breeze. A chicken cordon bleu with chips for lunch sounded great so I hitched into Bourail after Brigette spotted me. She gave me two delicious bananas from her daughter's garden. The tricolour flutters as much as the local flag. After all, many of the French overseas possessions have no or little desire to be independent with the money and intervention of the French government. Wages are high here, and people live in nice homes, drive shiny vehicles, wear designer clothes, and indulge in French wine and cheese. 

As I feasted on my delicious feed a pretty French lady gave me a subtle "bonjour, bon appetit." Today I hitched back to Bourail with a guy who drove a bit slower than the guys yesterday who drove at 150 kph round blind corners. Last night it was only myself and one other camper but today the campground filled up a bit. I met a lovely French architect named Corene. We went for a nice walk on the beach even though I was exhausted. She was looking for a spot to swim and I was looking to photograph some gorgeous French (Caldoche) ladies. A "Caldoche" is a French person born in New Caledonia. I've learned on this trip when it comes to photographing beautiful ladies you just have to ask and hope for the best. Caroline and her sister Susanne are from France here visiting their brother.

Anne works at a local campground.

Melanie is from Noumea camping for the weekend with her husband and two dogs.

My chances of a girl accepting to pose are probably better when she's with her partner. 

From there I was ready to photograph one of my favourite subjects; one I don't have to seek approval for but have only a short window of time for. "Coucher de soleil" is "sunset" in French. In the words of my friend Helena, this one looks like molten lava.

It's one of my most majestic sunset photos: on par with Norfolk Island or Caye Caulker. This one here looks like this beautiful lady is meeting her match.

Rather frustratingly, there are no shops in Poe. Your only options are to eat out or BYO from Bourail or Noumea. Whilst many other campers were cooking their dinner, I opted to have a liquid dinner of two glasses of French sauvignon blanc at another nearby campground with a full bar. I don't drink much nowadays but I must learn not to be so hard on myself. I'm on holiday, after all.

The manager had a charge converter so I could charge one of my camera batteries. My charge converter broke on the way to American Samoa last year. After today I can't say I haven't shot a good photo, as I've nearly run out my batteries taking shots. Beautiful ladies and beautiful sunsets sure go hand in hand. That said, it's hard not to love New Caledonia.

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