Vanuatu

Dorothy and friend, Wahoo Bar and Restaurant

Steve did a great job of finding the Waves of Bukura bed and breakfast, outside of the town of Port Vila, where we stayed for two nights. Beautiful accommodations built by our hosts. Gorgeous ocean views. Our host is a fine chef who prepared a gourmet dinner for us each evening. His wife prepared beautiful desserts.

Over the years we have heard many stories about Vanuatu from our cruising friends. We have always been puzzled by the contrasts. This third world country is the home to some of the kindest, sweetest, friendliest people in the world. They are quite poor by western standards, but seem healthy and clean, but have to pay for their children’s schooling after primary school, which unfortunately is difficult for some.

We drove around the island of Efate on a ring road that was originally built by the US during WWII, and was recently re-surfaced by the US. Off of this ring road you are struggling to drive on unsealed roads, with pot holes everywhere.

The people are good farmers, and we passed many produce stands, mostly selling tomatoes, and the large farmers market in town was packed full of locally grown food. The women use strands cut from pandanus leaves to artfully tie together several ears of corn or lots of sprouted coconuts Strong, freshly-woven, multiple-use carry baskets are used for displaying their produce and for carrying it home after purchase.

Category 5 Cyclone PAM severely damaged several islands in Vanuatua about 8 months before our visit, and the banana trees have yet to bear fruit since the storm. Much aid was delivered from overseas, and people are rebuilding their houses with cinder blocks instead of corrugated sheet metal. It is impressive to see how much progress has been made. We saw huge trees that had been uprooted by the storm being buried in a deep pit.

We lunched at Chill restaurant overlooking the yachts anchored in the harbor in Port Vila. We did not see the yachts of any of our cruising friends, but enjoyed watching the activities of the port. Most of the cruising boats that did not flee the country as the cyclone approached were destroyed.

The local Ni-Vanuatu people, over the past century or so, evolved a common language called Bislama, pronounced Bish-lama, so that the various tribes and expats could communicate. It is humorous to hear and read. At a grocery store, I photographed some signs which display the message in Bislama, English and French. If you read the Bislama out loud, it is quite understandable for English speakers. Here are some more examples:
Piano: “black fala box we igat black teeth, hemi gat white teeth you faetem hard I singout”
Guitar goes something like: “You tickle its ribs and it sings.”

After a very busy three months, it was relaxing to lounge for an hour or so on the porch, watching waves breaking on the reef, forming beautiful curls of white foam.

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