My Days and Weeks in Port Vila, Vanuatu

11 Jan

Picture Perfect
25-26 December 2010

A little boat floating on the ocean between a few islands. The stars shining brightly. Some bioluminescent fish illuminating the sea. I am sitting on the middle bench, eating chocolate.

Another picture: 8 o’clock in the morning, I am laying on the white sand in shallow waters looking at a rainbow over Efate island. The moon winking. My red toenails break the surface and become part of the horizon. Only the soft sound of the water licking the shore.

Later that morning, sipping sparkling wine sitting in the water looking at puffy white clouds go by. Going into the shade to lie down on a chaise longue and eat a passion fruit.

Just another weekend in paradise. Of course, to make you appreciate those pictures even more you have to get some background information:
The excursion was a spur of the moment idea from my housemate Ivan who keeps an eye on a small hotel/restaurant on Kakula Island when the owners are out of town.

No planning meant: we were not sure how to get on the island because the maintenance guy Mansel was not responding to Ivan’s calls. We got lucky and found the boat at the little wharf, so we stole it. It’s only once we were on the water that he realized that the boat was low on fuel, very low. That explained why the boat was there alone. We could have gone straight to Kakula but instead we went further away to Nuna to pick up his girlfriend and more fuel. A little bit tense but there were still plenty of buses around and the sun was slowly setting on the horizon. I was relaxed. Ivan had a couple of kava shells to relax! By the time we left it was pitch dark and quiet. We stopped to look at the constellations, wishing we knew more.

The spur-of-the-moment action also meant that we didn’t have the keys to the hotel and all the staff was gone. Get the mosquito screen outs, remove a couple of panels, slide inside the office, the kitchen — for the bedrooms we could read the lock with a long arm. The kitchen locks were more sophisticated so we couldn’t open them from inside, which meant that we used crawled under the serving window to go in and out. Good exercise! I mixed my specialty (fresh veggie stir fry) with Ivan’s (coconut milk curry with canned veggies) and we had a scrumptious late dinner with Australian xmas carols (it was the 25th)… which drove me to bed as soon as I had my fill of chocolate!

Around 7, I was up and heading for the beach with Buddha. I felt out of place in a way because I was a spot on a dream scenery. Walking through a vacation catalog. I stayed there for a couple of hours mostly floating on my back, dozing off, enjoying life’s little pleasures – sigh. I headed back to the house for breakfast (another pleasure), and met the staff: Ivan had just picked them up. No more sliding on the kitchen counter! We visited the most amazing tree house I have ever seen… except that it was never finished. Imagine a huge banyan tree (the one where some branches are actually roots growing downwards and planting themselves to stabilize the tree) with three floors – kitchen + living room, bedroom, bedroom + sauna – connected with wide ladders. You can see the cables and pipes for electricity and water… but the project was abandoned. Not just the tree house, the main mansion is in a similar state — we didn’t visit it though because the beach was calling us. I don’t know the whole story but there was a scam behing a grandiose plan to have a resort with $30,000 a night rooms. The whole thing crashed before the mansion was done but they had built the staff house for practice, and that is where the hotel is now, with just 5 rooms.

We spent a few hours at the beach, eating leftovers, drinking and – of course – getting sunburns! I applied SPF 50 sun block twice but I still got red patches. I am getting a tan, one patch at a time! My freckles are also coming to the surface. I am pretty sure they used to be cuter, when I was a child and didn’t know how to protect myself from the sun, they would be with me every summer. Now they look like coffee stains under my eyes! They may even have a striking resemblance with age spots next to my wrinkles.

Oh, I almost forgot: we had about three earthquakes between 5.6 and 7.4 on the Richter scale that weekend. FYI: “Vanuatu is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region where 90% of the world’s earthquakes and 80% of the world’s largest earthquakes occur.”

I only felt one, but I didn’t bother opening my eyes because it was around midnight and I was tired after eating all the curry. What could I have done differently awake anyway? Yes, had I known there was a tsunami warning, I would have eaten more chocolate, but the one we had wasn’t that good (Cadbury’s – milk with nuts and raisins).

Okay, I need to get back to that beach. Close my eyes…

See you don’t need a camera to take pictures…

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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