Yeahhhh…Today we see our first island, Noumea of New Caledonia. It was fairly early so we had a nice long day to explore. We walked through the streets until we found a tourist office. We picked up a map and a general idea of what to do since we hadn’t booked any of the expensive excursions through the cruise ship (always book your own excursions through the locals once off the ship…it is much cheaper for the exact same thing).
We walked around a bit, exchanged some money and then walked through the food market. There were a couple small buildings beside each other, one was full of vendors with fruits/veggies…another was all fish etc. We bought a couple of bananas since they were clearly a different variety than we get in the US. These were short and fat and had a very thick consistency but were sweet and filling.
We had fun looking through all the fish…they were much brighter in color than what we see in the US. There were huge bright blue and purple fish which the fish monger held up for us to take a picture as well as green, black & yellow lobsters. There were bright-colored shrimp, piles of crabs, squid and a line of fish which looked like their lips were puckered and ready for a kiss.
After walking around the market, we grabbed a taxi and got dropped off on a different side of the island which got us out-of-town and onto a beach area. We found a restaurant called “Fun Beach” which was right on the ocean so sat at a table right on the water. We ordered some local prawns and a beer and just chilled out. After our leisurely lunch, we walked down the beach…past the swaying palm trees as we watched the locals with their huge fishing poles trying to find a catch.
We also found a secluded look-out area where Giff spread some of his dad’s ashes. After enjoying the view, we caught a bus (thanks to a local who pointed us towards the right one) and got back to our cruise ship for the evening. Tomorrow we will be at another south pacific island when we wake up!
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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