Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Noumea: things have changed

This blog is intended to create a dialog about all aspects of tourism and travel.
I wanted to write about some of the places that I have visited.
I also want to write about some of the places where I will go in the future.
I want to write about how travel, tourism and adventure has changed.
And finally, I wanted to wanted to start a dialog. Please add to the comments. I would love to read and share the thoughts of others.

So I start with Nouméa. It is a good place to start because it illustrates a few trends. (Also, since I spent less than an hour there I can dash this off quickly!)

The theme today is that ones life can have small moments full of time and meaning. I was flying from Singapore to Sydney -- or was it NZ? -- in 1983 or 84. The point is that the details fade but the feeling remains. The plane stopped for refueling at Nouméa airport. We all piled off for our hour in the airport lounge. It was only about 50 metres from the steps of the waiting jet.
A small group stopped in the lounge, we told our life's stories, we discussed the future and shared a few laughs. We made friends for life and then we split to never meet again. Travel brings up these short and intense friendships. Things like that never seem to happen with the same intensity at home.

Another theme is how things change. Is there any airport in the world where security is so free? Especially in New Caledonia where there has been so much turmoil? It was fun to travel when people could feel safe and security was much less unobtrusive. Also in the days that jets are taking 13 hour flights, smaller places like Nouméa and Samoa are overflown. Fewer stopovers means more tourists in the main destinations while some smaller locations languish. This can be good.

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