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)

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Auckland Writers Festival: Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 16, 2019

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold took place in the Heartland Festival room, which is a bit like the Melbourne Festival’s Melba Spiegeltent.  It’s a most congenial venue, especially if you get there early like we did and enjoy a glass of bubbly at the cabaret-style seating with a table and comfortable velvet padded seating.

The event was an opportunity for readings from some of the Māori writers who contributed to the book Pūrākau: Māori Myths Retold.  The readers were some that I knew: Tina Makereti (see my reviews of two of her novels); Paula Morris (see my review of Rangatira); and Nic Low (whose short story collection Arms Race was a giveaway for Indigenous Literature Week in 2014).  Other readers were Kelly Joseph, Regan Taylor and Whiti Hereaka, and the whole performance was accompanied by multi-instrumentalist Kingsley Melhuish who blended brass and percussion instruments with conch shells…

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New Zealand 2019 Day 7: Napier

Posted by Lisa Hill on May 12, 2019

Internet access at the Masonic Art Deco Hotel is so bad, I’m just posting this briefly before it drops out again.

I’ll try posting about our day today but won’t be surprised if I can’t upload it… hopefully things will be better in Auckland.

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Last post: dinner at L’hippocampe, Noumea, New Caledonia Friday 8/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 8, 2017

Our last meal in Noumea was at L’hippocampe at Le Meridien, next door to our hotel.

From the picture of the seahorse on the restaurant menu, I at last realised why it was called L’hippocampe, and also why there is a part of the brain called the hippocampus!

It was all very nice, and although all the senior waitstaff spoke English well, it was especially nice to be able to speak French with a very nervous young waitress who had only a very basic grasp of English.  It reminded me of the smile of relief from a young Russian waitress in St Petersburg who had only the most rudimentary of English at her disposal, when I was able to order in Russian.  What I’ve learned on my travels is that it doesn’t matter if my French/Russian/Spanish/Italian is terrible: it only matters to them that their English is terrible, and that is because it’s their job and they are judged on it.  It must be so very hard to have to struggle with English in your first job, so no wonder they are anxious about it.

Anyway, thank you to Laura, my teacher at the Hampton Community Centre, you smoothed our way many a time on this short trip!

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WW2 Museum, Noumea, New Caledonia, Friday September 8th

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 8, 2017

And in the afternoon, we went to the WW2 Museum…

It’s interesting to see the ‘same’ history from a different perspective.  In Europe, if Britain’s Commonwealth allies get a mention, they often forget about the Anzacs, and New Zealand in particular.  But in this museum, the Aussies and the Kiwis were welcome allies against the Japanese, especially before the Americans joined the war.

Can you spot the difference?  Hint: there’s more difference in the hats than in the flags.

IMG_2701 (768x1024)It was interesting to learn that when France capitulated, New Caledonia came under Vichy law but – not keen on that at all – they had a coup toute suite and joined the Free French under De Gaulle.   And say what you like about De Gaulle, he knew how to do a rousing call to arms and heaps of New Caledonians including tribal Kanak chiefs enlisted and fought bravely against fascism.

I learned all this and much more from reading the signage, which is much more detailed in the French version.

They didn’t really have much in the way of actual exhibits, but there were two jeeps:

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and some bits and pieces from a soldier’s kitbag (including a book on how to speak ‘Egyptian’ in a few days…

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and what appeared to be a genuine army issue washbasin (with modern facilities discreetly behind the doors!

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Maritime Museum, Noumea, New Caledonia, Friday 8/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 8, 2017

We’ve had a great day today, starting with the Maritime Museum…

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Noumea, New Caledonia, Wed 6/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 6, 2017

Idleness has crept upon us, and we have done nothing but go to nice places for nice meals, admire the views and read books.

Shameless, yes I know, but it is too hot to do anything else.

Here are today’s photos from a restaurant called Le Roof:

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Noumea, New Caledonia, 5/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 5, 2017

Well, we haven’t made it to the aquarium yet: we were going to stroll down after lunch but it’s too hot so we think it’s time to loaf about with a book…

We’ve sampled breakfast here at the Chateau Royal (*pout* not a croissant to be seen because *sigh* they do ‘American breakfast’ buffet) and then we had lunch at the Meridien next door, which was very nice in a laid-back beachish kind of way.

Then, triumph!  I asked a passerby the way to the shops to buy some water, and not only did she understand my French, but I understood hers! And so did the lady in the shop when we got there, Laura – my French teacher – can be proud of me:)

Today’s photos:

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Noumea, New Caledonia, 5/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 5, 2017

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Bonjour from Noumea!

Voila les photos de Hotel Chateau Royal – from the balcony in the very early morning.

(We had to be up early yesterday for our flight here: it’s only a three hour flight with a tailwind, but these days we have to allow three hours to check in at Melbourne Airport, so it was a long day).

So… we arrived last night in time for dinner at the hotel restaurant. They have a fine cocktail menu, and some jolly nice wines but I haven’t brought my phone with me so there are no pictures. We had an early night, our only adventure so far being that I locked us out on the balcony and had to call for help to get back into our room again! (I am paranoid about mosquitoes at the best of times, but they have the Zika virus here, so #BigMistake I was being doubly careful not to let any into our room.)

The photos above are views from the balcony just after dawn. I’m impressed by the helipad landing place at the Hotel Meridien next door – no wonder I saw so many of them flying around last night as we drove in from the airport.

I was also impressed by the cruise ship that was docked at the marina you can see in the photo. It was the size of an aircraft carrier! Apparently they only come for the day, can’t quite see the point myself…

Anyway, we are going to do some exploring today, starting with the aquarium.

PS This post is supposed to be on my travel blog! WordPress has changed something, I will have to work it out so my travels are where they belong at Travels with Tim and Lisa.

Posted in 2017 New Caledonia, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Update (Home again #2)

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 24, 2015

My apologies for not updating things here…
This is not really a public blog like ANZ LitLovers or my (now retired) LisaHillSchoolStuff blog), it’s only followed by my friends and family so, pushed for time and not always thinking clearly, I let it slip. I’ve kept up with some friends on Facebook and on the ANZ LitLovers blog and others by email, but I should have got back here sooner in case there is someone out there wondering…

My father has rallied sufficiently for me to come home to Melbourne the day before yesterday, where I wait with some unease for the next phone call summoning me north. He’s only two hours away now, not 36 hours, and I am doing my best to keep that distance to Qld in perspective.

I am blessed with wonderful friends who have taken care of things for me while I was away, and now I am just taking things easy, pottering around in the garden and the kitchen, watching Masterchef but not Australia’s nasty politics on TV, walking the dog with my beloved Tim, and reading and blogging to take my mind off thoughts that threaten to derail me.

And travel? Well…

By coincidence I received Stephanie Alexander’s newsletter today, full of enticing chat about her recent trip to Peru. So tucked away in the back of my mind, for later, for when things have healed, is the idea of maybe taking a coastal cruise to South America. It’s good to have a little ambition like that, to hold on to…

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Home again

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 16, 2015

Hello to my faithful readers: we had to cut short our trip because my father is gravely ill, so we’re now back in Australia after a gruelling 36 hours.

To Stuart at Academy Travel in Australia: you are wonderful. He was in touch within 20 minutes of my text, listened, and then said he would ring back in half an hour with a solution. It was four in the morning in Brussels, and Sunday in Australia. He rang back, and everything was sorted. We were on the train to Paris with connecting flights and kindly considerate treatment from everyone at Singapore Airlines – with a rental car ready for us at Brisbane as well.

*weak smile* The hospital won’t let us in to visit until 10:00am and they are very strict with double-locked doors and all, so we have time for a quick shower and some breakfast…

Bye for now

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