At some point I introduced the category ‘Meet the locals’ to my blog, to which already several posts here belong. In addition to that, perhaps I should also create ‘Meet other tourists’. That’s the topic of this little article anyway.
Because, you see, New Caledonia may not be a very touristy place. And I may not have come here primarily in order to meet other ‘non-locals’, be they from Europe or other parts of the world. But there are other tourists, and they (we) tend to concentrate in certain places, and then it just happens sometimes that you get in contact. And that can be a very positive experience. So it happened with the four people I would like to talk about now.
These are Saskia and Eric. I met them twice even – first in plage de Poé (near Bourail), and then a second time in Koulnoué near Hienghène. It was lovely and really inspiring to talk to them. We found we had quite a few things in common. For instance, Saskia is a very experienced psychologist, so naturally this was one topic which we talked about in great detail. It will be great to see them again some day, either in Normandy (where they live) or perhaps in ‘my’ Black Forest in Germany. Anyway, I am looking forward to staying in touch with them.
Then there was Kane. I also met him in Hienghène, and we spent quite some time together on the East coast of Grande Terre. And in case you were just thinking, wow, what a coincidence he should have the exact same spotting scope and tripod as Sebastian – well, these are mine. But he really enjoyed looking through the scope at all kinds of stuff. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn one day that he got himself a scope as well! Then perhaps he will even get used to the magnifying effect. When a stray dog crossed the street, Kane studied him with great interest. He said that the dog looked like a majestic lion, while I was worried the poor creature might collapse in the middle of the road because he seemed so meagre and weak.
We spoke about many things, including New Caledonia (which we are both currently visiting), New Zealand (where he lives and which I will be visiting soon) and Singapore (where he used to live and which will be my last destination before I get home). If I had to put him and myself in boxes according to our style of travelling, his would be labelled ‘traveller’, whereas mine would read ‘tourist’. But that, like many other topics, was something we could discuss in great depth.
Kane is documenting his trip on Youtube. Here’s the episode featuring me, the German gentleman: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTkLDo9mhxk. It’s nice to see myself in action, and to get some feedback on one’s behaviour and appearance. Plus, I know it will make some people at home happy to learn that I am driving the car at only half the speed limit (although I wouldn’t necessarily say that I did that for caution’s sake – I wanted to be able to admire the stunning scenery at least as much).
Then there was the peanut butter argument.
Don’t get me wrong here: it’s not an argument I had with Kane. I like peanut butter too. But he has developed this theory that the French disapprove of peanut butter in general. And who could better prove him right than the following handsome chap:
Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Thibault. I think if you look closely, you can detect a certain uneasiness and discomfort on his face. And that is because he was asked to hold not just one, but two jars of peanut butter into the camera. And yes, he thinks p.b. is totally useless, and if he wants peanuts, well, then he can simply eat the nuts. Also, according to him, p.b. contains too much sugar – an argument which Kane fervently rejected. But enough of that. Suffice it to say that Thibault prefers to spread soft cheese on his baguette.
Had Thibault and I met a little bit earlier, we could have arranged some time on Lifou together, or in Nouméa. But none of this worked out, unfortunately, because he was on Lifou while I was in Nouméa, and vice versa. It would have been nice to see him again. Oh wait, let me re-phrase this: it will be nice to see him again one day somewhere on the Rhine or the Rhône.
Meanwhile, I will drink some more coffee (now that I have figured out when to press the ‘minus sugar’ button on the vending machine…).