Easter on the Island

Although it’s belated, Happy Easter to everyone! This year, like last year we spent Easter weekend in Noumea. I will say we planned to something a little more low key but, at 35 weeks pregnant I felt the need to be close to one of the two hospitals. After some calling it was deemed Noumea was our only option (last minute)
So Friday afternoon we were off! Let me just remind you that the roads in New Caledonia are dangerous. Not only are they narrow, have speed limits that seem really fast but drivers here are the most dangerous, least cautious I have ever seen. Now, I must clarify it’s not every driver but, many of them are crazy behind the wheel. Since January there have been 17 deaths on the roads in New Caledonia. That’s on an island with a population of close to 250,000! Needless to say you must be alert at all times! After an interesting drive to Noumea we arrived and checked into our hotel. Usually we would immediately be off to do some errand; an appointment, to buy something, to find something but we had nothing on the agenda. So , we opened the patio doors up wide, poured a glass of wine and two glasses of juice and sat on our patio watching the buzz on Anse Vata. It was relaxing! Our plans for the evening included heading out for dinner but we ended up meeting up with friends and ordering our favourite take out, New Bangkok.
Saturday in Noumea is usually get up and begin ‘nos courses’ or our errands. Unlike any other morning in Noumea we had little on the agenda so we drank coffee on the patio and chatting. FaceTime has been not working for days now so we couldn’t have our regular Saturday morning calls. We decided to go to ONE grocery store to pick up a few odds and ends. The longer we live here the less and less we actually need in the city. Casino Johnson carries many Australian products and familiar brands so we tend to stop in for a few treasures, other than that Koné tends to have everything we need. This time our treasures included; rice crackers, spicy salsa, canned Heinz beans ( Seth’s fave), Campbell’s soup (for my slow cooker ) that rings in at a mere $7 a can! And then there was buying some chocolate for Easter. Let’s set it up before we discuss price. Children here don’t get baskets over flowing with chocolates, nor do they get toys or new bicycles. Easter consists more of family get togethers with food and a chocolate, traditionally a bell not bunny! At the store they had a multitude of chocolate ranging in price from $1100 xpf ($14)for an egg to 6300 xpf ( $80) for a large bell filled with candy. I watched as people chose carefully their selection, no one standing there filling their basket with bags of mini eggs, chocolates and candies. They chose 1 or maybe 2. I decided on one for Seth, 1700xpf ( $22)!
We then headed off to Bébé Roi to look at a swing for Baby Buddy and a new carrier. Continue the sticker shock! Although the swings ranged in price from 10, 000 xpf ($128)to 450,000xpf ( $575) which I thought was reasonable pricing for the island. The carrier proved too much to swallow. An Ergo carrier was almost triple the price! And, I get it, it’s an island, everything comes via container ship and is taxed by the government, it’s part of life here but I decided we could forgo as I had another solution in mind. I ended up kind of in a weird round about way negotiating a deal on the floor model swing and heading out.
The rest of our day was nice and calm, well as calm as it can be with Seth! We went to eat at McDonalds ( as per his request) and swam in the pool ( brrrr) and headed to the park. We ended the day with an early (aka 7pm) dinner at La Terasse Restaurant. It was lovely! A beautiful view, with a gentle breeze and delicious food!
Sunday at 5 am the Easter Bunny treasures were located via the trail he left and Seth ate his fill and then went crazy! With the sugar still pulsing through his bloodstream we slowly packed up and drove leisurely home. It was a relaxing drive as most people were spending the day with family and not travelling until the holiday Monday. It was nice to spend Monday buzzing around the yard and getting organized for the week ahead.
Overall the weekend reminded me of a few things; Easter has little to do with chocolate. It’s has everything to do with family and friends. It’s a time where we get to slow down and reflect on our lives and all that we have already. As expats, our traditions are not forgotten, just often altered to suit the weather, availability and situation but, our hearts are always filled with memories of Easters past. I am sure when we return home some of the tradition of New Caledonia will follow us, I can see a mad hunt for a bell in my future! I hope you all had a wonderful Easter Holiday wherever you were.

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