Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Noumea, New Caledonia, Thursday 7/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 7, 2017

Well, we finally made it to the aquarium!

But not without a small calamity or three first…

Our first calamity was that there is no ATM in our hotel (we thought there was) and the second calamity was that taxis are hard-to get.  There was a party of eight in the lobby waiting for two taxis and we could expect to wait a while since maybe the taxis were busy.  We interpreted this correctly as ‘you’d be better off walking’.

So, ok, off we went on foot to the bank with the ATM and calamities no 3 and 4: the ATM wouldn’t accept Tim’s card and the bank wouldn’t change my dollars into local francs.  (I am not sure what this bank actually does do, but the customer before us took a very long time to do whatever it was).

So there we were, stranded, with 1000 local francs which is about enough to buy four small bottles of water.  Not enough cash to get into the aquarium, which doesn’t take cards, or for taxis, which also don’t take cards.   But lo! there was a friendly Hilton Hotel, which while not able to solve the cash problem or tell us where a Travelex might be, was able to tell us where there was an ATM into which I could put my Australian dollars and voila! out would come local francs.

I was a tad sceptical about this but in the event when we found this ATM (well hidden among some restaurants) it happily took Tim’s card and gave us some cash and all was well.  Yes, exactly the same brand of bank, exactly the same kind of ATM and exactly the same card.  Go figure.

We are not very good at tropical strolling so by then we were hot and tired and in need of a restorative G&T… at Uncle Ho’s Vietnamese Restaurant…


So, we had a jolly nice lunch – simple but tasty  and ridiculously cheap compared to everywhere else – and paused only for a photo opportunity with Marilyn Monroe, before tackling the next part of our walk to the aquarium.

The aquarium was, as you’d expect, full of fish.  The best ones hide, or they swim fast, so they aren’t in any of my photos.  But there were some massive turtles in a big pond by themselves on the roof and all in all it was well worth the effort to get there… even if we did have a long, hot walk back because no, there weren’t any taxis to be had.  We did see a couple, but they all had smug-looking passengers inside them.   We need a Plan B if we are going to get ourselves to the cultural centre tomorrow…

(We are now quite relieved that we have a pre-booked airport transfer because our hotel is 45 minutes from the airport by car, and that is a bit too far to walk, eh?)

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6 Responses to “Noumea, New Caledonia, Thursday 7/9/17”

  1. Sounds like quite an adventure – but nice that you managed to have a good lunch. Marilyn Monroe. What a hoot.

  2. Lisa Hill said

    I think it’s because we’ve never had this kind of ‘resort’ holiday before that it seemed so disabling. Resorts are always away from everything, aren’t they, so it’s kind of deserted. It’s a long walk to anywhere because you’re meant to stay by the pool drinking cocktails or floating on a glass bottomed boat looking at the reef. Not like being in the middle of a bustling city like Rome or London!

    • No. We don’t do resort holidays either. The only one we’ve done was in Koh Samui in 2014 – just 4 days – for husband’s sister’s 40th anniversary. As you say, away from things – though in Koh Samui it didn’t really feel like there were a lot of things to be away from (besides other resorts!) There were things to see, but not “great” things if you know what I mean.

  3. […] Noumea, New Caledonia, Thursday 7/9/17 […]

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