Daily Archives: 1 February 2014

Blogging from New Caledonia 1a

This is really just footnotes to yesterday’s sonnet. If you’re looking for excellent writing about Nouméa from the perspective of a USer who lives here and engages intelligently with the place and people, I recommend Julie Harris’s blog, New Caledonia Today. If you just want just one post, try this one, which shines an interesting and uncomfortable light on relations between Kanaks and European New Caledonians.

But back to my footnoting, largely by way of pics.

The corner of our street – where Mallarmé’s languid faun is about as appropriate as the Lindsay satyr in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens:

Mallarmé

Our nearest bus stop, named with similar incongruity for renaissance man Joachim du Bellay:

du Bellay

The tricouleur, not as ubiquitous as the Stars and Stripes in the US, but enough to let you know you’re in France. And some people find it galling to have the Union Jack in the corner of their flag!

tricouleur

It’s not quite true that the tricouleur is the only flag here. Nouméa has its own city flag, of course, but there is also the Kanak national flag. The link above to the New Caledonia Today blog gives an idea of just how contentious this flag is. Here’s the only one we saw, planted on a rock in the bush across the road from a rather grand statue of Notre Dame du Pacifique. There’s supposed to be a referendum on independence some time this year. Interesting times ahead.

kanak flag

The writing on this bin says, ‘Le tri, c’est pour toi aussi’ – ‘Tri is for you too.’ It’s tri meaning sorting as in triage rather than three as in tricouleur, but the coincidence was too good to pass up.

tri

The women of colour, in both senses, are everywhere:

20140131-184410.jpgPhoto by Penny Ryan

20140131-184736.jpgPhoto by Penny Ryan

You can read about the separatist hostage-taking and subsequent deaths in the late 1980s here.