My Days and Weeks in Port Vila, Vanuatu

11 Jan

Fridge Warming Party
5-12 December

The highlight of week 6: Fridge Warming Party.

Yes, you read right. The thing is, when you live in a tiny town on a tiny island in a tiny country, you have to create your own fun… and use ANY excuse for a party. On Wednesday, we had a Fridge Warming Party.

The deliverymen left Giant Fridge in the hall and it stayed there for while, shyly under its big box. It was only a matter of time until Man of Action (MoA – aka Nima who never comes before 8:30) showed up and moved it into the kitchen. Then it was time to involve the team and rearrange the space – hence the name, which he has earned on many occasions (remember when he rearranged his desk and Maureen’s and was ready to order furniture and re-organize the whole space; he also jumped on the table to change a light tube, etc. etc. No problem is left unsolved when Super Nima is around).

The kitchen is an awkward space: rectangular, one long wall is all windows facing the parking lot, and the opposite side has windows into the hall (upper half) and a long table fixed to the lower part of the wall. We enter through one of the short sides, which leaves only one side with a wall. Not easy to fit Giant Fridge, High Locker (storing milk, coffee, etc.), and Low Cupboard (for stuff) with the “sink” (no running water just two plastic tubs) + all the things on the table, including Baby Fridge, Water Cooler and Burning Kettle (it won’t switch off automatically and only the smell of burning will make one of us unplug it!).

Opinions were welcomed and the brainstorming led to many many ideas. Of course, we couldn’t just talk about moving this here and that there — apparently people have little imagination: Giant Fridge, Low Cupboard and High Locker moved from the window wall to the little wall and back, left right center – permutation for the best feng shui. Which means it took almost an hour to decide “unanimously” that the best way was MoA’s way. Carmine (the URA’s CEO) had already given up trying to get his opinion approved, and left the building.

Once we were all happy with the new kitchen, MoA thought that we needed an official ceremony to welcome this arrival: a Fridge Warming Party. It was supposed to be in the afternoon, but it was moved to lunchtime so that a colleague who was leaving early afternoon could attend. We decided that we should get some Chinese take away from around the corner, and since I suggested it I couldn’t abandon them to go home and log onto Skype to attend my Book Club. Then the colleague left before lunch … but what do you expect, he’s French! (aie aie aie – okay okay no more derogatory comments about the French… for now).

For the record: I wanted a Fridge Cooling Party. But without any extension nor an adapter (European plug for an Australian outlet), Giant Fridge remained warm until today (Monday, 13 Dec). Carmine just went to one of the many Chinese shops and got both because his fridge was bursting at the seams. A Nepalese colleague had a great party last night and the leftovers ended up at Carmine’s place (he can’t say no and Baby Fridge was already full). Giant Fridge had to be cooled to welcome the food and we had a free lunch!

I can’t wait for the arrival of Microwave! The one in stock was defective so we have to be a little bit more patient. It’s okay: it means another opportunity to party in the kitchen! Still, I wonder where it will fit…

The rest of the week appears very dull in comparison: Sunday brunch at Chantilly’s with Katharina, Mario, Carmine and Nima — but they only talked about work so I focused on my blueberry pancakes. I miss brunch + movie with the girls!

Health front: Mosquitoes are loving me even more than usual these days, but no new injury. Nima beat me though: he hurt his foot on the boat at the xmas party, left it unattended, it got infected, he bought some antibiotic cream, it became worse, and he had to visit a doctor to get oral antibiotics. So far my collection of creams and lotions has done the trick; and Katharina brought me more from Switzerland. Still, I hope I won’t need to meet the German doctor.

Work front: busy busy with creating a flyer and brainstorming for Q&A on the Luganville concession (the historical arrival of an American company to provide electricity in Vanuatu – I mentioned it a couple of times), both to be distributed at a public forum in Lungaville on Friday. My boss participated to the panel and was also part of a live radio show on Thursday. I wish I could take credit but no, all this was done by the Government. It has been following up very well on our current issues, in spite of the fact that it was barely a week old! The ousted PM threatens to have another vote of no-confidence to get his seat back.

Another distraction and part of the conspiracy to infect me with the xmas spirit: with much pain and effort, they managed to “plant” a giant xmas tree in the lobby, going up to the third floor! From my desk, twisting my head a bit, I can see the lobby and could witness the massive brain work it took to get the tree up. But I missed the decorating — must have been eating in the kitchen. The tree is a pale imitation of the great Tannenbaum in our songs and the decorations are pathetic, so no, still no xmas spirit.

Home front: French invasion… hihihi no no just a French couchsurfer, Ludovic, for a couple of nights. Ivan had a rough weekend: bad turn on his speed boat and he was thrown overboard; he has cuts and bruises as do both the friends he was with. Then yesterday, someone smashed a window of his truck to steal his phone.

Week 7 has started pretty well: the fridge was plugged in, we got a free lunch and home-made cake. Carmine made it: vanilla spongy type with raisins – from a box, covered in dark chocolate!! Okay, I am the one who bought the chocolate for the coating… A male colleague (Ni-Van) was wondering why he was doing a woman’s job, and Maureen noticed right away that it was burnt. Hihihi! But we all ate and appreciated it. Now we get to leave early because they are going to spray against bugs. Simon found a cockroach nest last week under his desk. Can’t complain!!

2 Responses to “My Days and Weeks in Port Vila, Vanuatu”


  1. Home « Traveling Tastebuds - 15 J0000002Australia/Sydney 2011

    […] and never really made an effort to plant roots. I did enjoy my life there, as you can read from my earlier blog entries, in particular diving in Port Vila’s and Luganville’s turquoise […]

  2. Two Sides of Vanuatu « Travelling Tastebuds - 15 J0000006Australia/Sydney 2011

    […] November 2010-January 2011 – My Days and Weeks in Port Vila […]

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