20 August 2018
Thank you Mum for answering your phone! If nothing else it made me stop and think 😏
So – the flight was great – left at 9:10am Monday and arrived at 3:30pm Sunday – I do love the Dr Who aspect of all this 🤣
It is gorgeously wonderfully hot and humid, overcast but no rain and absolutely could not get the grin off my face! Took about an hour to get through customs and I was in my rental car (auto thank god!) by 4:45. There actually isn’t much of an airport to practice driving around (I’m a left hand driver in a right hand world!) so I figured what the hell – other than the roundabouts it looks pretty straight forward! So I set out… trouble was, while I did get some offline google maps I couldn’t figure out how to make them more detailed, only really high details so was relying on the map that the rental agency gave me which was in a wee tourist brochure. So, very few street names and not entirely accurate or maybe obvious with the number and vacinity of the roundabouts.
So after going up and down the main drag a few times (actually roundabouts are easy – you just stick to the lane you came in on and remember to look left before you try and get on, so far that’s worked well for me). Around 5:30 I pulled over at the cultural centre (I think) on the waterfront and asked a guy that was sitting there parlez vous Anglais. Non. So I give him a big smile and tried what has become my sentence of the day – il y a Hotel Sarah Nui, ou est moi?! He shrugs and says non… I say nous ici pointing at the bit on the waterfront on map that looks most like where we are and he gives small grin and nod. So I’m like yay! Get in my car and trundle off. There are VERY few street signs btw which may explain the lack in my wee map. And the ones that are there are little square red things that I didn’t realise were street signs till I recognised one name from my wee map. Travelled a lot further this time then rang the hotel. Try google maps on your phone is the answer. No data is my answer. Oh is their answer. But she did say they’re by the Navy base – still haven’t seen that, but had seen signs that vaguely make me think of nautical terms so follow them, I’m getting closer! Stopped at a shell station armed with my wee brochure and asked do you speak English (non) and then ou est moi again – poor chick freaked out and took me round the corner a hotel where they speak English – I’m thinking my French is not so good after all (As I explained to Caitlin later it’d be a wee bit like if a French woman who only spoke a tiny bit of English rocked up to her at Harvey Norman’s and asked where she was – comfort zone 0) The women at the hotel were great – next street they say pointing confidently in the direction I was facing. I went around the block in a Koru pattern, widening my search with each sweep – actually by this time driving is pretty good, my big issue is when I do a left hand turn I really want to go into the left hand lane. Also the indicator is on the wrong frocking side… couldn’t find the hotel. But (and you’ll be proud of this chick!) I found un supermarche! It had supermarche written in large letters and was on my side of the road which helped immensely! So went in and bought a 2ltr of Sprite and armed with trusty brochure went to counter – this chick had un petit peu anglais, but couldn’t figure out the map at all which is unfortunate ‘cos I was close by now (6pm). I am getting braver with my French by this stage too 😏 A 2ltr bottle of sprite cost me 485 FPF ($7 NZ) by the way – so I’m thinking the food may not be as cheap locally as I was told…
So it’s getting dark now and I am driving away from the supermarket and suddenly there is the road I’m looking for! Avenue Pomare V! The hotel is meant to be on the left directly you come off the roundabout – mais non. The frocking hotel is a side street a wee way up from the round about. I went up and down there about 5 times – the last time going up on the left hand side of the road with no issues till I met traffic at the top, swerved into the right hand lane in front of someone on the right side of the road and soldiered on. Which is when I pulled over and rang my mum.
Sorry – long story! Got into my room about 7 and immediately had a shower – room is gorgeous! Glad to be out of my boots!! Going to do very little now and tomorrow will be a slow day too I think 😃
I am here!!