The view from Jack & Christine's front porch

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

We spent last night in Auckland, New Zealand, and this morning we travel on Quantas Air to New Caledonia. This time we have the luggage all wrong, it turns out the international rules on the web page don't apply if your ticket was purchased separately from your international ticket. So now we are re-dressing and re-packing at the ticket counter. I cannot take my walking sticks on the plane, which I have been using as crutches, since now they might be a weapon. So they wrap those up for me and put them on special luggage. And they get me a wheel chair instead. And they find me a seat with the row all to myself so that I can put my ankle up. But all this takes a lot of time, so in spite of getting to the airport two hours early, Harold is now racing through the airport, with me & my wheelchair to catch the plane.

Upon arrival in New Caledonia, the immigration officer does not speak English, and doesn't seem to understand why we don't have return tickets. I eventually manage to get the point across that we have electronic tickets. We are actually a little concerned that he does not know about the electronic tickets, it's a small airport. So we are not sure if he is just testing us or if we are going to have a problem going back because we do not have paper tickets. Next we spend some time searching for my walking sticks, I have no idea of the french word for that. Then I see another set of hiking sticks in the baggage office and go get them, and point at them, and then the very friendly and helpful baggage agent understands what I'm looking for, explains to her co-workers, and my walking sticks are quickly produced. Even customs takes a little while to get through. This airport is actually very impressive with their security. The employees actually look at your photo on your passport and ask a lot of questions. They are very courteous and very thorough.

Jack is waiting for us on the other side of customs. He drives us to his beautiful home, where Christine is waiting. It is so good to see them both again. We freshen up and go for lunch at Jack and Christine's Yacht Club in Noumea, Restaurant Club Nautique Caledonie. We can see we are going to like the French food. And the weather, its pretty much warm and sunny here most of the time, South Pacific, like Fuji or Hawaii.