I saw 3 quite large crabs in a tent close to the place, where cruiseships will get their passangers ashore in Lifou. 2 of these crabs had been fixed by a rope (my 2nd picture) on the table inside the tent and another one was fixed on a rope outside in the open sun. I am sure that all the 3 of them had a lot of pain that way and the local people expected tourists to pay 1 Dollar for each photo.
I am afraid such cruelties will go on forever, except that tourists will totally give up to pay for such photos !!!
When my husband and I went back to New Caledonia for our Honeymoon (lune de miel) April 2006 some good friends made sure we went to the street parade to celebrate Mardi Gras in the centre of Noumea.
We had been at the beach all day so we felt drowsy and in need of a good rest and downtime but we ended up spending the night at the parade and then out to dinner.
The New Caledonians really know how to celebrate.
Almost all the companies, clubs, groups, schools and organisations had created and submitted a float to the parade and as a result there were floats for everything. They were very amusing. Some were fantastic, others very creative and even more which left us in stitches. All of them were very colourful and the energy and care that had been put into making them was obvious to everyone.
The relative wealth and the number of jobs generated by New Caledonia's nickel-mining industry have attracted lots of migrants here from France's two Polynesian colonies: French Polynesia (aka Tahiti) and Wallis & Futuna.
Most of these Polynesians have settled in and around Noumea.
While they live a non-traditional lifestyle here, Wallisians often dress up in traditional garb (as on the photo) when travelling between Wallis and New Caledonia, and Tahitians often perform their famous dances both for tourists and at local festivals.
Like in the rest of the South Pacific, the Church has a strong influence on the life of New Caledonia, too. Two-third of the population is Catholic, and churches are busy on Sundays.
If you catch a major religious ceremony like the one on this photo I came across in Koumac, you are in for a rather colorful event!
As a side-note, New Caledonia's churches are some of the finest in the Pacific architecturally.
Festivals offer a unique chance to see traditional costumes and dances of the Kanak.
Interestingly, these are not usually performed for tourists, except in a few places regularly visited by cruise ships.
If you are interested in catching an authentic festival, start by asking at all three provincial tourism offices in Noumea, and also keep your eyes open while travelling around the country - upcoming events are often advertised on big banners.
Nothing sums up the honest nature of the Kanak people better than the charming little roadside stalls selling fruit, shells and handicrafts throughout the Kanak inhabited areas of Grande Terre, especially along the North-East coast.
These simple little sheds display a few items for sale along with the prices (usually very low), and a small box where you put your money.
The system seems to work here - nowhere else in the Pacific have I come across it though.
While no match for the fantastically varied art forms found in Papua New Guinea or even Vanuatu, the Kanak do have their own, distinctive styles of carving.
It is still seen decorating traditional homes and is occassionally available for sale, though the best examples are to be found in museums these days.
Traditional Kanak houses, or "case" are unique in the South Pacific, often reminding savy visitors more to villages of Africa.
They have a round floor-plan and a tatched, conical roof, and often carvings on the top and flanking the doorways.
Such tribal architecture remains commom in the north-east of Grande Terre and the Loyalty Islands, though these dwellings will almost always stand alongside more modern homes in a village.
You can actually stay in such houses here!
Much like reunion Island in the Indian ocean New Caledonia reamains part of France therfore the offical language is French. Before you come it could do you much good to learn a bit of the language, otherwise you could take a wonferful course in the french language whilst on the island.
If your interested in doing this check out
If you are invited to stay in the home of a Kanak family as a visitor, it is customary and appropriate to donate 200 francs or so. This will seem very small compared to the incredible reception you will get--as I said on the intro page, the Kanak people are the friendliest I met anywhere in the Pacific Islands.
I know this is a good tip for every country , but especially in the outer islands just being able to speak the basics is very important, as the further you go away from Noumea the less people will speak English . note: most of the non-tourism industry locals do not really speak english, and definately not other european languages. However at nearly every hotel English and Japanese are understood, at the backpackers the owners speak Dutch - but most people in the outer islands do not speak any other language than French. New Caledonia on a whole is very friendly, in the Loyalty Islands expect people to wave to you - really cool, maybe the friendliest places you will ever go - though that depends on you as well.
As part of the Amedee Island day trip, we were treated to a performance of Polenesian singing and dancing.
Sure, the whole show was 'specially put on for us tourists, but I really enjoyed it and I didn't feel like it was commercial.
It was held in just a simple hut, with simple instruments.
I thought I'd be picking up cultural tips from French speaking Islanders, but it turned out to be more Japanese shop traders (whose French was accented and difficult for a student). Still, shopping is a universal language.
Try to speak French! As soon as we hopped of the boat we raced accross the road to try an authentic (well south pacific authentic) french pastry. Had a bit of trouble with the use of the south pacific franc.
When you are going to Noumea, you should visit the
Cultural Centre there. It is an interesting building.
It is between a lots of trees in a park. You have to take the bus to get there.
I remember 10 buildings (you can see them on the photo). You can entry there to see some different things of the culture of New Caledonia. There is a museum and something like this.
143 Route de l'Anse Vata, Noumea, Grand Terre, 98845, New Caledonia
Good for: Couples
Kanumera Bay, New Caledonia
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Solo
Paita Rue De Gadji, PAITA, New Caledonia, 98890, N
Satisfaction: Very Good
Good for: Business