It’s been a while … at New Caledonia Today

Photo Julie Harris

Photo Julie Harris

What the heck happened? Several among you have sent me messages to know if I am still in New Caledonia. Where did I go? Why did I stop writing? The truth is, 2015 hit us with a wallop. In mid-January I found myself in the emergency room and then a few days in the hospital with every battery of heart and brain test you can imagine. If anyone wants to know what medical care is like – or my experience of it – in New Caledonia, shoot me a note and I’ll think about blogging about it. Yes, New Caledonia has trained medical staff and all the modern equipment (if perhaps in limited quantities). Yes, hygiene is good. Yes, the food is bad (but isn’t all hospital food bad?). Yes, it’s horrible waiting around all day in a hospital bed. But again, I think it’s the same everywhere. Would I want to spend a lot of time in the hospitals/clinics here? No. But then I wouldn’t want to do that anywhere. February saw a world school trip to Vanuatu which was out of this world – and just ahead of Cyclone Pam. We were extremely lucky to see and taste and smell the beauty Vanuatu has to offer before it experienced such destruction. We met and spent many an hour with the locals on several islands (Efate, Malekula, Santo, Tanna) – and our minds and hearts will be forever etched with their kindnesses, with their pure happiness with next to nothing. March and April have seen full-on work and school for Pablo and I, without a break. We’ve learned that we are moving to the south of France for August of this year. And so starts the return move machine. We’ve purchased our around-the-world return tickets (they feel like around-the-world, but as we’re not returning to New Caledonia, they aren’t really), started sorting our things to sell and to give, have met with movers, talked with the quarantine about moving our pet and are facing the inevitable end of our stay here. What has been happening in New Caledonia?

And of course we still have the car accidents and the road deaths, the random fights and the stolen vehicles. We have the high cost of living and problems with the nickel plants, the polluted beaches and the political disputes. On the bright side, we have leopard shark love in central Nouméa (see below), the most beautiful weather you can imagine, stunning views, a pristine lagoon, clean air and a high quality of life. We are free of much of the crime we see on TV in the United States and Europe, we live simply, unconsumed by consumerism, we live with the sun and spend much of our lives outside. Would you live here, if you could (and you don’t)? I guarantee you would miss it, having had it for a few weeks, months or years. I’ll do what I can to keep writing before we leave. If there are any topics you’d like to know more about before this chapter closes, shout, and I’ll see what I can do to accommodate you. Knowing you’re there keeps me thinking about all the best things there are to share about life in New Caledonia.


16 thoughts on “It’s been a while … at New Caledonia Today

  1. John Hunter Hospital in Newcastle, NSW – not bad if you must be taken to hospital – as was I last year in early November. Like your follow-up travels to Vanuatu – I did likewise – but to Japan (back to Japan, in truth – where I had lived for some 16+ years). You are moving to France in August – where? I am writing this sitting next to two French citizens (my brother and his Paris-born wife) – they hold dual citizenships in fact!

    Best wishes for your preparations – and in making your physical farewells from New Caledonian landscapes and friends.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Jim, and sorry to hear you also had some health blips. We will be moving to Hyeres, on the French Riviera, having spent some 20 odd years in Paris. 🙂

  2. Great email! Thanks 😃

    Sorry to hear you’ve been unwell and that your moving to France (nothing lasts forever).

    Would love to learn more about Kanak independence, if possible. I’m hoping to return to Ouvea for a month late next year…

    Best of success w your future and thanks for your interesting and thoughtful articles. 👍👍

    Marc D Bowden


  3. LOVE, LOVE , LOVE the video of the shark and his caretaker. Thanks for posting it. Looking forward to the post on Kanak independence also. Surprised about the marching AGAINST this independence? Who is against it the Kanaks or Caldachs? (spelling???)

    • Thanks for your kind words, Elaine. With regard to the anti-independence movement, you can think of it as a pro-French movement. There are a fair amount of people (if not a majority) who feel that New Caledonia should remain French. Some feel that economically, New Caledonia could not flourish as much as it does now if it were to become independent. By French, the Caldoches (those born here with a long French ancestry) are often included in the mix.

  4. Thank you very much for your insightful writing on New Caledonia on your website. It will be missed.

    • Thanks for your kind words, Christopher. I may write about New Caledonia’s independence if I can get information from abroad. Wishing you well. – Julie

  5. Pingback: Tribute to a life in New Caledonia | New Caledonia Today

  6. Yes, all the best to you, too. I have one of your Isle des Pins photos on my desk top. Maybe I should pay you a royalty!

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