Tag Archives: life in noumea

What is up with… scented toilet paper?!

So we want to start a series of short, ranty posts about things we’re encountering that cause a response of “what is up with that?!”.

The first one is scented toilet paper.

parfume

Maybe this is typical for most of the world or something? Back in the states you’d have to seek out such a thing. But WTF? The only option at the stores is scented toilet paper? And it comes in different aromas?!  This whole scented TP thing reminds me of highschool when a smoker would sneak a cigarette in the bathroom then proceed to douse themselves with cologne so now you have someone that reeks of smoke AND cheap cologne. Get the point?! I don’t even want to know what chemicals they have to add to make it smell the way it does. If we leave the pack of rolls in our bathroom with the door shut overnight, the smell of perfume is overwhelming the next morning when we open the door…

Îlot Canard

Finally a post about something fun! And some photos too!

A few weekends ago we took a quick day-trip over to Îlot Canard to check out what the small islet had to offer. We love snorkeling (and lounging of course) so we packed up a little lunch, our snorkel gear, some sunscreen, and headed to the taxi boats at Anse Vata beach. It was a fairly slow day so we were able to buy our round-trip taxi boat tickets (about 1200 XPF each), hop on the boat, and in about 10 minutes we were hopping off at the islet. Don’t forget your reef shoes as the beach has lots of sharp dead coral and shells in some places – other places are nice soft sand.

Once we were on the island we headed down the pathway to the restaurant where we signed up for a pair of beach chairs and an umbrella. We probably could have managed with a towel on the sand under one of the small trees, but we figured we’d make a day of it and the chairs/umbrella/table were well worth it.

We had been used to snorkeling around in Baie de Citrons and having decent-but-not-amazing visibility. The water by Ilot Canard was incredibly clear and there were tons of big fish, huge corals of all different colors, and plenty to see. We were a little surprised by the strength of the current as we went around the side of the islet but managed just fine.

No post would be complete without some amount of complaining so here it goes: STAY THE HECK OFF THE CORAL YOU IGNORAMUSES! We were amazed and saddened by how many people were walking all over the coral and trashing it with their fins. Do people not realize that touching the coral kills it and it can take hundreds of years to grow back? Places like this are a natural treasure and we want people to be able to enjoy them without killing it all! WTF PEOPLE?! Do people just not know or do they not care? We need the coral police up in this place to tell people to stop standing on the coral or at least construct a sign saying as much.

IMG_0373 IMG_0336 IMG_0308 IMG_0351

Internet. Finally.

So we’ve been working on getting our internet set up for a few weeks now. Like so many other people say, things move slowly on the island (well, everything but the drivers). ADSL is the option you have here for internet and it actually isn’t so bad speed-wise if you pay enough. The difficult part is that you need to deal with both OPT (the phone company) and your ISP of choice (L@goon, autile, Can’L, MLS, etc.) and each have their own issues.

The steps to set up the internet go something like this:

1. Get a phone

For this part, we had a French speaking individual help us at the post office (OPT). You need to set an appointment for this one. You’ll have to present some verification of residence, a paper with your New Caledonia bank account info for direct withdrawal, and some ID. It costs about 1200 XPF per month plus 10000 XPF installation fee for a basic phone line. You also need to have a physical landline handset to activate your line – it isn’t possible to activate via another phone. It took a few days before our phone actually got activated. Patience.

2. Subscribe to OPTimo

OPTimo is basically signing up for the privilege of OPT to let you have ADSL on your phone line. You need to subscribe to this no matter which ISP you choose and most of them don’t really tell you that it’s going to be added on when they advertise their prices. It ends up being about 2600 XPF per month. This is a matter of filling out another OPT form and waiting for OPT to press the button on their end. It took a good 10 days from the time we sent in the request till the day the button got pressed and we had ADSL capability.

3. Subscribe to an ISP

There are several ISPs here in Noumea and most have very similar prices. The largest is L@goon which boasts unlimited data usage for all plans. The plans differ based on the maximum speed possible. As far as I can tell, all of the other providers have bandwidth caps. We went with Nautile mainly because of word-of-mouth and their website seems the most up-to-date and easy to navigate. All of their plans provide the maximum speed available on the island (16 Mbps) but have monthly bandwidth caps. The bandwidth caps don’t apply during midnight and 6am so we’ll be scheduling big downloads during those times. It’s a different experience watching our internet consumption much like it is with a non-unlimited phone plan but so far so good. Nautile also provides a web page that shows you how much data you’ve used in 4 hour chunks so that is very helpful.

All in all, things have been ok with the internet although our VoIP phone (included with Nautile with free calls to the states) seems to kill our connection when we try to make early morning calls… we’ll see if its just a glitch this morning or if its a common problem…

All in all the process took about a month… You have to deal face-to-face with pretty much every step and usually more than once for each step along the way. You need a trip/call to set your OPT appointment, show up for the appointment, go to your ISP to get the OPTimo started and fill out paperwork, and then return to them once OPT presses the button to get your modem and login info.

Patience is key when dealing with services here.