I rang the car hire number at 07:00 as directed by George to catch the man before Good Friday Mass, but they couldn't provide one. So I called Georges at the Relais Moehau who gave me a number for taxi lady, Freda, who agreed to collect me at 08:30. Mark and I went to the gendarmerie but discovered that I needed ALL the crew plus Anne. So we arranged to return at 15:00.
Walking down the street to find our taxi I asked a lady coming from the Mairie where I could find car hire. She introduced me to her driver, Pive, who was naked to the waist and had a necklace of gigantic boars fangs endangering his jugular. He called across the street to a passing car and introduced me to Florence, a charming young woman with a frangipani flower behind her left ear (not available!)
We negotiated a price for three days and within ten minutes she had returned with a contract, taken the cash, and left me her Mitsubishi 4x4 pickup. Brilliant!!!
So now I am master of a growling, rattling vehicle which has safely negotiated the hairpins up to the plateau to the airport, where I am now waiting for Anne's plane to arrive. There are two dark wood check-in counters, a single pitch of corrugated roof covering a tiled floor, a little cafe and a few benches. Very accessible! The cafe seems to be doing good trade in burgers and chips.
It feels great to be able to drive, especially after our hot sweaty walk into town from the port last night.