11 August - Ile De Pins (and some more stuff from Noumea)One of the first things I noticed about the French cars is the designers' taste. Wacky and new seem to be the main styling themes. It's a big change from Aussie sedans and ugly American SUV's. Peugeots, Citroens, and Renaults seem to bee the main car brands here. Citroens are the weirdest, Peugeots the most innovative, and the Renaults seem to combine both elements. The French have a style all in their own.
On the day before we left for IoP, we met Nathan and Grace of Namadgi. Namadgi was actually a boat owned by a company, and different members take it different places. Nathan likes NFL, in a country where playing football with pads on is unthinkable! You'll have to read Nikki's journal to get info on Grace. We played Three Flags Up numerous times during that day, and later that night, we spent 4000 CFP's on six bumper car rides each. When they had to fly back to Oz, I wish (as always) that we had met them earlier.
When we arrived at Ile de Pins, one of the first things Nikki and I did was snorkel. I have never before seen so many fish in my life, nor that amount of coral. I only wished the fish around the island was infected with Cigutera, as I would have gone spearfishing.
A few days before this journal was written, we went on a Hike to Pic N'ga. It was a 2 k hike, but the grade of the trail made it rather tiring. Haven't the French heard of switch-backs? The view from the top was beautiful, and well worth the hike. On the way back, Nikki and I both had a lesson in how to bet.
18 August - Hitchhiking to VaoThe last day in the Isle of Pines, we hitchhiked our way to Vao, to explore and stock up on essentials. Like pate. We actually didn't mean to be picked up, but after we had gone about a K, a rusty old Renault stopped and the driver asked us if we wanted a ride. We said yes, of course, and piled into the back. There were no seats, so we sat on the floor with two of the locals, and ignored the spikes of pain that came from our tailbones when we went over a bump. After we went for a walk, we waited at the store for a half hour, then stocked up on essentials. Like pate. . . . Does anyone have a sense of Deja vue??? Our ride back was on a truck that pick us up about halfway to Kuto. It is really fun to ride in a car illegally, and I hope to do it again.