Bastille Day and beyond

The parade yesterday was completely comprised of the military, police
and fire department. The formalities to start the parade lasted longer
than the parade itself. The town we pretty much shut down for the day.
The buses were running though and I took one out to the beach. It was a
pretty ride. I walked the beach and came across a spot close to the bus
stop, but I couldn’t go inland. There were walls and barbed wire fences
and I couldn’t figure our why these people didn’t want access to the
beach. It was a coral rubble beach, but still it was nice. When there
was finally a gap that I could walk through I found myself in the
medical center for “special” people. People not right in the head.
Luckily, I just walked out past the guard without any problem.

My return trip was free thanks to a Kanak guy who gave me a ticket at
the returning bus stop. He insisted. He wouldn’t take payment. He did
let me refuse the rum he offered though. We chatted as best we could
with our different languages until the bus came. He explained on the bus
that the tickets were 30 cents cheaper in town than paying on the bus. I
still couldn’t understand why he would just give me one. He was just
being nice I guess.

We have exhausted the restaurants here in the center of town, so I
visited the rolling trucks for dinner. There are five or so right across
the street. The food is much the same from one to the other. I had
mussels with mushrooms in cream sauce.

Today we awoke to sunny skies and warmer weather. That didn’t last long.
I visited the market and bought stuff for lunch: marinated brochettes of
salmon and stuff for a salad. It was delicious.

Susan worked on painting a name on the dinghy. It’s now named “Bato.” We
got that off an placemat from the brasserie here at the marina. The mat
is illustrated with a lot of funny things. If you don’t know French you
might miss this little joke; bateau is French for boat. We really
cracked up when we saw it on the placemat.

After lunch I went out shopping and got a siphon for the boat. Getting
the diesel out of the jerry cans and into the fuel tank has been a messy
proposition. This self starting siphon should help. I then went on to a
shop that I love which has an outlet in San Francisco and used to have
one in Honolulu: L’Occitane en Provence. It’s a fancy toiletries place
and they make a lavender soap I love. Susan and I visited it yesterday
and she liked one of what she calls “French toilet water.” She didn’t
buy it, so I got it for her today.

Off to the grocery stores. I went to both to compare. The better, by
far, is Casino Supermarket. I picked up some gourmet items and ran into
Susan. She was there for a baguette and potato chips. I already had both
in my arms. The baguette was still warm. She had an empty basket, so I
filled it with my stuff.

Tonight we’re off to dinner at a nice place as a send off for Steve. His
bus comes at 9:15 to take him to the airport. Gerard arrives on Tuesday.

We’re still bundled up from the cold and one local I spoke with
yesterday said this was the first time it’s been so cold. I can’t
imagine he meant first time ever. I’ve got 4 long sleeve shirts now and
three long pants, so I’m pretty comfortable. Susan and I split a package
of six socks too.

Tomorrow will be museum/zoo day. We’ve also got a rental car reserved
for Monday for a week so we can explore a little more.