Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 - NZ To SF - Day 11

Day 11: (24 May 2011):
- Wake up at 4:30, still night. Pack up tent, get ready. Boris help, say he usually wake up @ 5am.
- Ready at 4:45. Wait by rock for bus. Friend come join us ~5am. Stars.
- Some rain, so walk to a simple shelter. For selling simple things. Rough branches hold up sheet metal roof. Tree trunk segments as chairs.
- Bus come @6am. Wave down. No luggage area, so take stuff on board. Five Boris 1kF gift.
- As bus goes on, it gets fuller. Eventually completely full! I shove all my stuff on top - notice poop & bad smell on small bag! Now also a bit on shirt.
- Beaches, palm trees sun rise over water. Get off bus, Mountains with tops in clouds lit softly by rising sun. Very pretty. Can't take pictures as am pinned in by my stuff. Cascades. Tiny bridges.
- The crossing on barge. Get off bus. Drive on.
- Get off Hienghen a bit early, by town hall. Ate bread & cheese. Walk to info centre. See poule & sphinx as approaching Hienghen. Take my time, sit & read map/book some time.
- Town centre, once again, is surprisingly modern. Small.
- Make arrangements with info centre: OK to stay in Tiendanite. No 3 day notice required! Book bounga as well.
- Get info. Small map of area. (Photocopied sheet).
- Walk along road to a viewpoint of poule & sphinx. No one there after a Kanak woman & kid leave.
- Good that stomach returning to normal: no bathrooms either. Sit for long time. Eat some sweet fried dough.
- Decide not hike up mountain for view.
- Continue to Lindaurique. As Christelle indicated, it looks like some pictures of Asia. Cliffs very dramatic, interesting formations. Playa de billet de 500F, sign with can attached to pay. Didn't go as didn't know: Sign seemed to indicate I need to ask permission first. Walked to bridge to Koloune, sit & watch small fish.
- Coconut fall ~10m in front of me on road. Loud. Hear more fall in forest. Scared now. Coconut grove.
- Guppies in beach puddle.
- On walk back, some tourists ask if I visited caves. House with "grottes" on cooler, but no one there.
- Walk a bit & sit to read. Maybe some clue.
- Car stop & ask if can help. Say caves closed due to tribal dispute. Signs blocked out.
- Ask for lift to Hienghen. Dominique from Guadaloupe & French Guyana. English teacher. Help buy lunch & stop by tourist info, but they closed for lunch. Go to his house on Koloune. Give beer & tea.
- Intimidated, but mostly probably because lack of sleep. Rough with cat. Very dominating personality. Lisp. When I ask if can clean up, "oh, you don't know what's going to happen next <laughs>." Seem to know a lot about me: English (although I greeted him "Hello-Bonjour"), from NZ: probably told him, but don't remember due to tired. Beer is Leffe. Was afraid he was going to drug me! But countered fear as know get paranoid when tired & if he was bad, tribe will probably know.
- In any case, relieved when start drive back to town.
- Said Hienghen is wettest part of NC.
- Mistake @ booking: Next 2 nights, not these two! But they say is OK for these two nights.
- Dominique offer drive me there. Road through mountains. Some paved, some not. Small, slippery bridges. Bridge that is just a flat-ish barrier with water flowing over it. Site of the massacre.
- Arrive, help ask about car. Realise I go straight to Noumea on Thursday, so offer ride. Will call each other Wednesday evening to organise.
- Start to rain. Ground covered in horse poop. Small cabin at back of village, as full here.
- Simple. Mattress on floor. Mats (plastic woven). Covers & pillow. Same but neater than house in Tchamboene.
- Meet woman from Paris, studies @ McMaster in chemical engineering in early 2000s.
- Electrical problems start. Flickering, sometimes off, sometimes on.
- Called to dinner. Meet husband of the girl I met earlier. Another girl (dad found anti-cancer plant here). An older woman (2 yrs contract, here 5 months so far. Set up school for teachers.).
- Chickens. Dogs (fat dog). Cats (one with bad eyes & open wounds (?) on back.
- Cabbage & carrot salad (good, oily, fragrant). Deer meat (soy sauce & onions?). Rice, manioc, banana, yam in coconut milk?
- Dessert: soursop, (notice there is a tree just by the eating area).
- Toilet also no seat. Ask for paper.
- No electricity. Lamp problems (at toilets too). Later, lights return. Write for a bit.
- Rat eating my fried dough when enter, so place outside. Rat poo & pee.
- Mattress wet from humidity.

Photos available at: http://mandarinmanmarktravelbriefs.blogspot.com/