Panasonic LX100 at an effective 24mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image data — nearby photos
in the tourist books
Deep in the South Province interior.
We took a drive away from tourist areas of Nouméa, deep into the unpopulated interior. Having looked at the map of the area, I'd been thinking to rent a bicycle and ride there, but I wasn't able to find one to rent. Instead, we all took a drive there today, and I'm glad I didn't try to ride there unprepared. We went hours and hours without the slightest sign of civilization other than the road. No stores, no gas stations, no houses, no farms, no commerce or human presence of any kind except the occasional Provincial nature area (devoid of people, vending machines, etc.). It was eerie.
Not until we made a loop all the way around and approached Nouméa again did we start to find a human presence.
On a bicycle, I couldn't have carried enough water for the trip, so I'm glad I didn't try. I also appreciate all the more the abundance of drink vending machines in Japan.
In the photo above, there seems to be a particularly bright area in the dirt around the shadow of my head. The dirt seemed to be particularly reflective, so it's reflecting the sun (which is directly behind my head from the vantage of that area of the photo) back into the camera.
Oddly, when I turned around, the dirt, which appears reddish-brown when facing away from the sun, appears almost perfectly black when facing the sun. I'd never seen anything quite like it... as we passed, it morphed from black to the rich rust color seen above.
The area is apparently known for its nickle mines of yesteryear. It was beautiful and it's hard to imagine why it's not home to a thriving population, except to imagine that the economy of the nation simply can't support enough people to have bothered spilling over from the coasts into this area.
With proper planning, I'd love to ride some of the roads we drove today. Some of the mountain hills were brutal, such as this one. Maybe next time.