New Caledonia - Posted On
Next having dropped our both feet on land, Benedict, daughter of Olivier’s godmother, hosts us at home. We get to know her husband Ali, the surfer from Iran, and Nima, their 5-month baby.
Both of them came from France five years ago and work as teachers like numerous other “Z’oreilles”, as people from France are so-called by locals.
We particularly appreciate finding ourselves alone, intimacy was a luxury on board and is now very refreshing once on land.
We take at last time to call friends, family, and at once, Olivier’s website is up-to-date! Life goes slowly between computer, paragliding, market, bread and yoghurt making.
In New Caledonia days start quite early. As we are quite close to the Equator, sunsets and sunrises vary only of one hour all through the year. Start of summer time, meaning October, sun rises at 5:30am and sets at 6pm. When we arrived, we were coming out of winter and temperatures were about 25°C, giving us a good sight of what summer would mean!
Life will not let us long in this quietness.
Vincent, Olivier’s brother, was pretending he would wait for us in New Zealand. He now appears surprisingly in a garden party at night. The two brothers had not seen themselves for now three long years!
Lets me picture the scenery for you:
In the middle of a quiet party, a thirty years old group of people are quietly chatting together, tasting their glass of wine. Here arrives a weird unknown guy, wrapping his face in a scarf and talking with a very weird voice, pretending his name was Sandy!?!?!?
At once, one of the guys of the group, who was nearly sleeping away, everybody having forgotten him, jumps on his feet at once, shouting and running at the new intruder: “Vincent!! F…… hell! Bloody s… and Putain de bordel de merde ! What the hell are you doing here? ». From that point the guy takes out his scarf and answers him very comprehensively: « Ahhhhh, but Aaaaaahh, yeaaaah AAAhhhh ».
And they jump one in the other’s arm shouting and jumping everywhere… People around are now looking at each other, understanding quite nothing of what happening, except maybe for Nadege (who knew everything from the beginning).
Energy comes back for the Grenoble team. It is perfect for tramping one week in the bush, in the south of the country. Five days made of wilderness, cooking our neck in the red dirt of Caledonia, giving us a good lookout of what Australia will look like. Often also, green trees shadow our track with the beat of the singing birds.
Hitchhiking is our main way to travel through the country and also through the city of Nouméa. It is so easy here; people are quite accustomed to it.
This is our main way to understand what New Caledonia is and who the locals are.
We can meet three main ethnical groups of people here:
- “Z’oreille” people, people from France who came here to work a few years.
- “Caldoche” people, who are the great children of the whites immigrant a few generations earlier.
- “Kanak” and Melanesian people, first people who set here centuries ago.
Even though the different people seem to live one close to the others, it seems obvious to us groups do stay away from each other. Z’oreilles people, often coming with educational degrees, usually get the best jobs, leaving the least to Caldoches and Melanesian people. Of course, that difference leads to a cultural gap between the ethnic groups.
It seems that Melanesian people are ultra sensitive to the negative power of alcohol. Often, people die driving their car, fight or act like crazy, giving to the Medias some dark news on Saturday or Sunday morning. The craziest story was a 23yo. Boy raping a 83 old woman… He was of course completely out of his mind due to the alcohol he drunk.
Nowadays government has forbidden selling alcohol all week-end long.
Reflection comes with the fact that white people came with this drug as well as the cannabis was previously unknown by the locals. Now Melanesian people go to jail because of drug selling. Craziness of History!
Here comes the time when we celebrate our second month on the same land. It is quite surprising since we used to stay only two month in every country before.
Since we arrived good things happened to us. We like that land, even though some sides of it stay reluctant to us (racism, no big mountain, culture of consumption and good car…). We are now working on the projects of staying and working here as mechanical engineer for Olivier and as hydro geological engineering for Nadege in the Nickel mine industry.
No much people have our sort of degrees here and we know the financial potential of it, as well as the good opportunity of getting great responsibilities and experience in the industry.
Travelling means experience and opportunity; we are kind of willing to take this one.
In parallel we also work to get a long term visa in New Zealand, in the case of getting a good job here would not work.
It could be now a big turn or change for the project, something we have been thinking with Olivier from the time we realized that travelling fast through countries in South America might not be the perfect way for enjoying life.
We will keep you up-to-date about our projects.
New Zealand and biking the world might not come before some time…