Tag Archives: murals

New Caledonia, 2014

In the approaching winter of 2014, my husband’s family including assorted partners and children, flew to Noumea for a week. We stayed at the Hilton Hotel where our balcony overlooked the pool, Anse Vata beach and Canary Island.

The weather was not the beach weather we had hoped for, being rain with sunny periods. Definitely not swimming weather. Although that didn’t stop me trying, resulting in a very short lived dip in the cold pool, before it started raining again.

We made the most of it anyway and the holiday became all about eating instead. And what a great place for this to occur- in French food heaven. There were the decadent coffee shops, the fantastic French bakeries with sticks of bread and fancy cakes; and our favourite, the French supermarkets with Cote D Or, French wine and yummy carbonara chips. All delicious.

My husband and I also managed to escape for a date night in a French restaurant called Astrolabe in the next bay for a lovely traditional three course dinner. And I had the best Carbonara pasta with raw egg that I have ever had in an Italian restaurant in the hotel complex.

On our first day, we caught the bus to the city market. The bus trip was entertainment enough for our one a half-year-old daughter, but she was very excited by the local musicians playing when we got there too and danced up a storm.

The market overlooked the boats of Port Moselle and had lots of fruit and vegetables for the locals, plus colourful souvenirs for the tourists.

The following day, we caught the bus all the way into town to Coconut Trees square, which funnily enough had lots of coconut trees; and a gazebo. I found a Mango shop amongst all the expensive French clothing shops and we found some French children’s books for our daughter. We also saw the old coach house, Moselle Bay and many colourful murals.

We took a walk along Promenade Roger Laroque to Lemon beach- the beach next to ours. The promenade also had a train running along it that my daughter enjoyed along with the statue of Marilyn Monroe outside the Rock café once we go to the beach.

One day, we dragged the whole family to the Aquarium of the Lagoons to see the coral, fish and related sea creatures. My daughter liked the hands on kid’s section and I liked the porthole windows that you could see luminescent jellyfish through.

On our last day, we took a walk up the hill to Rte Due Ouen Toro for a view over the island and all the beaches we had visited. On the way back we found a large park with lots of swings and dolphin bins. It was heaven for the kids and I’m sure they wished we had found it earlier.

Related posts: Fiji 2008, It’s a South Pacific Thing

Campeche and Merida, 2011

After Palenque, my husband and I headed to the coastal town of Campeche in the Yucatan peninsula where we stayed in a cute hotel with a small pool.

Our first stop was the restaurant at the Campeche City Hall. From the first floor balcony, we could see over the top of Plaza Principal central square which had a bandstand in middle, surrounded by churches, all enclosed by a city wall with arched gates. It was fun watching the band play and all the locals milling about.

Campeche was filled with bright murals, bronze statues, colourful houses and round towers. It really was a pretty little place. We saw the old lighthouse, a street of wedding dress shops and got a great viewpoint of the town from Baluarte de San Carlos.

My favorite part was walking along the Malecon waterfront promenade at sunset past all the modern statues and bars- mostly closed for the off-season. The Cathedral de la Purisma in the main square also looked pretty spectacular lit up at night.

A little outside of town up a hill, we went to the yellow Fuerte Museo San Jose del Alto, which overlooked the Gulf of Mexico. The fort even had a drawbridge and I loved the rounded turrets.

The rest of the day was one of my husband’s favorite times of the trip. We sat in a seafood restaurant on the water drinking, playing cards and eating the best free fish ceviche for whole afternoon. We had the restaurant to ourselves so were able to watch the cormorants fishing nearby and soak in the atmosphere for as long as we wanted.

Next stop was inland to Merida. Merida was hot. So hot, that my husband felt sick. So sick, that he didn’t have the strength to protest when I got ripped off by a Mayan hammock seller that we had met in a café. He took us back to his shop and sold me a bracelet and an overpriced picture after I flat out refused to buy a hammock for a ridiculous price. At the time I figured it was the lesser of two evils, but I still got scammed in the end.

After this disappointing episode, I ate the largest burrito I have ever seen and we retired to the air conditioning of a Frida themed hotel.

The next day, we discovered that cruise ship visitors had invaded the city. So after a quick spin around the main plaza with it’s Cathedral, the old Bishops residence and the red city hall with black and white checkered balcony, we left as soon as possible.

My highlight was the discovery of some interesting modern murals inside the green Government offices at the top of a large staircase that ran from the courtyard.

I never realized how much of a coastal dweller I was until I was in the middle of the Mexican heat of Merida. I longed for the relief of a sea breeze once again, but first it was off to the to see the desert ruins of Chichen Itza.

Related posts: Palenque, 2011, Oaxaca, 2011, Mexico City, 2011

San Francisco, 2007, Part 1: Falling in love again

Being a fan of Party of Five and Charmed, I was in love with the city of San Francisco even before I revisited. I love the rows of terrace houses, the harbour that reminds me so much of Sydney and the hilly roads. Although, I’m sure if I lived here I would get sick of those hills after a while.

My husband-to-be (HTB) and I stayed in a small room in the Tenderloin district with an ethnic supermarket next door. I was a bit apprehensive about the area having just read a book about a prostitute that lived in the Tenderloin back in the days when it was a dangerous place to live. But that was years ago and it was a nice room, so I cast these fears aside.

We started our day with a walk up the Filbert steps on Telegraph Hill to Coit Tower. The walk up the long spiral staircase punctuated by murals made the climb interesting. From the top of the tower we could see all of San Francisco’s most famous landmarks: the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Oakland Bay Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, the Transamerica Building and Lombard Street. It was awesome.

Back down the hill, we went to Jackson Square with all its lovely old rounded buildings and colourful jazz murals. Murals was becoming a bit of a theme for the city! We found the foot of the Transamerica building, which turned out to be an office building.

Chinatown was pretty much like every other Chinatown all over the world- colourful with lion gates and the smell of incense in the air. I did get ripped off on the purchase of some postage stamps, which was new. Which just goes to show that no matter how much you travel, you can still become victim to a travel scam. I don’t think I ever sent postcards again after that.

The Macey’s in Union square was lit up and decorated with impressive Christmas decorations. Being the main square of San Francisco it was very busy with people rushing around running errands and shopping for Christmas presents. We found Lotta’s fountain nearby which was tinier than I expected and ran into a gay couple who gave us an Irish pub recommendation nearby.

The pub was packed, had good food, great beer and we met a guy who worked at Google. Gays and Google- you can’t get more San Fran than that!

Related posts: USA Road trip, 2007: Part 2, Grand Canyon, 2007, Las Vegas, 2007, USA Road trip, 2007, Disneyland, 2007, Los Angeles, 2007, USA, 1990