Vanuatu – No Mo Wori

Vanuatu – No Mo Wori

IMG 1842After a layover of roughly 23 hours (with 20 dgrs it was very cold! We hadn’t worn our jackets in a very long time. We rented a car, washed our clothes, had some great lamb/steak for dinner and slept in a motel), we finally flew to Port Vila in Vanuatu. It’s the first island we’re visiting in the Pacific in about six months time! Vanuatu consists of a few dozen islands and a little over 200,000 people, who manage to speak over 100 different languages. De most important (and official) one is Bislama, a pidgin English, which is fairly easy to understand (my favorite word is: to talk = toktok). French and English are spoken as well because both countries ruled the place together for a while (in a condominium in an attempt to keep the Germans out), a period of mild chaos as they never could agree on anything and things were simply arranged in two ways. In World War II (Wol Wo Tu, sounds cozy right?) the Americans had a number of army bases here. We’ll be seeing some of that legacy next week: at the end of WWII they dumped practically all their surplus war material into the sea at a place now known as ‘Million Dollar Point’, which is a great dive spot.

Port Vila is the capital and is a small, laid back town at a quiet bay. The people seem friendly and very relaxed. You surely should not be in a hurry whenever you need something done! After four months in Asia we need to get adjusted to that, but it’s kinda nice. People will not keep on offering taxi rides and other services & goods every two steps that you take. People will simply leave you alone. It helps that 99% of all the tourists here are Ozzies and they are a fairly relaxed kind of tourist. While even the youngest hawkers in Asia will yell ‘Amsterdam’ when you tell them you’re from The Netherlands, over here all you get is a polite ‘uhm.. That’s Europe, right?’. When we were booking a trip to one of the other islands this afternoon (one with a live volcano, woohoo! We’ll be going there September 1st), The Netherlands was searched for with great enthusiasm on a big world map which was hanging in their office.

We’ve only been here for two days so we’ve only had some first impressions of Vanuatu, but that first impression is pretty good. In some way, sun, sea and palm trees make you very mild. They do that to me anyway. For example, I wouldn’t accept it of mr. Balkenende (our Christian Democrat prime minister) if he would market himself as ‘The official candidate of Jesus Christ’ (Jisas Kraes in Bislama), but on an elections poster of the local Christian Democrat party (pati) it’s seems kind of funny. The only thing that is a bit of a disappointment are the prices for food and drinks: at least at the same level as in Holland which we are not used to anymore!! Oh, and the cockroaches roaming our (nice and clean) room at night don’t help much either… Brrrr…

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