Friday 6th August, 1993

Drop Cap hris and Dick Phillipps (bless them) got us to the airport in heaps of time, no queues, no hassles with plenty of time to check in, have coffee etc with them and for Mac to buy a pair of binoculars at the Duty Free Shop and for me to buy some sunscreen at the chemist. Mascot has changed since we got back from Britain last year. There is an extended shopping area selling Australiana like mad for the departing tourist. We changed a hundred dollars into CFPs (south Pacific francs) seven thousand francs, seventy francs to the dollar.

Drop Cap he aeroplane, an Air Caledonie airbus, left on time, unlike either Philippine or Qantas. It is a small plane, rather cramped but not full, luckily, we had three seats between two, which gave us space to put the trays and drinks. They brought wine, French of course, very dry and an enormous lunch, quite nice but far too much. Prawns, unfortunately not in a dressing, just lemon, chicken in a fruity, vaguely peanut sauce with vegs, apple tart, cheese and biscuits, bread roll, and a Toblerone bar as well as spring water, wine, coffee and cognac.

View from our balcony

The View from Our Balcony

Drop Cap he flight arrived on time, approximately 6 p.m. to a hot and sticky airport. It had been raining all day, we heard. Two busloads of Club Medders took off for the 50k ride to the village. When we arrived at about 7.45 there was a reception committee of staff (hundreds of them, it seemed) plus a welcome drink. We then had to get up to our rooms quickly, then down for dinner before it all went. (Actually the food would not have run out but the staff had to finish). Our room is quite good, king size bed, private bathroom with bath, shower, toilet and bidet, a balcony overlooking the sea for now but also the cranes and construction site of a new 5 star Meridien hotel just opposite.

Drop Cap e went down into the main restaurant - one of three. The tables seat eight and at ours were a French couple, two Asian G.O. 's and a New Zealand couple. (G.O.'s are what the organisational staff, as opposed to domestic staff, are called. We are G.M.'s.) The dinner was buffet style as were most meals, even breakfast, with tables spread all over the room. I missed all the hot stuff because I was sidetracked by delicious but unfamiliar French hors d'oeuvres and salad. That's all I had room for.

Drop Cap fter dinner we saw a show put on by the G.O.'s which was dancing and some comedy (quite good) multilingual in French/Japanese/English. It was very loud and sent us to bed with a headache. The bed is comfortable and big enough for three. However the room is very warm. They probably don't think air conditioning is necessary at this time of year.

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