Wednesday, 11th August, 1993

Ouen Toro photograph

View from Ouen Toro Lookout

Drop Cap e hung around the beach and the pool until lunch. My legs felt as though they were burning. Maybe a tan coming up. After lunch we went on a tour to Noumea and environs, visiting Ouen Toro Lookout where there are Naval Cannon from WWII and a terrific view all round. Then we went on to the Aquarium, which was something quite special. There are fish and coral of all types, colours and sizes in natural light and water pumped daily from the lagoon. They had sharks and turtles and seasnakes and lobsters - all sorts. There was a fantastic display of fluorescent coral, like gems on a black velvet shelf and the Nautilus, a prehistoric native of New Caledonia. Huge shells, a primitive ancestor of squid, it lives in enormous depths, the water has to be kept very cold for them. I bought a post card (speaking in my fluent (ha) French) as a souvenir and we went off to the Parc Forestier.

Parc Forestiere photograph

View Inland from Parc Forestiere

Drop Cap he Parc has an ecological exhibit and a collection of birds, as well as examples of trees and shrubs. Some of the birds were fantastic, peacocks, including one albino, pheasants in brilliant plumage, flamingos and the native emblem the Cagou, all grey plumage, and a huge bird of very strange appearance called a "Bicorne Bucinator" (I think) After the Parc we called briefly at the Cathedral, then parked and hit the shops. Noumea doesn't thrill me much and the prices are all quite high. I bought a souvenir box and a native pareo (sarong thing) and two T-shirts for the boys, then called it a day. We had a drink in the Cafe de la Paix then went back to the bus. I feel uncomfortable surrounded by black people, I think. I keep waiting for them to make a false move. Stupid, of me I mean, but worrying. I didn't think I would be like this.

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