Vanuatu II

Apart from the archaeology, which was our entire reason for being there and which was spectacular, our stay in Vanuatu was kind of quiet. We were staying on a little island just off the coast and a few miles out of Port Vila. Here is a picture of us waiting to go out on our first night there:

Mele villageand here is what it looked like in daylight from the boat:

Hideaway Island

After all these weeks in the islands, Seven had kind of a negative reaction to being in what was unambiguously a tourist resort — where all the workers were locals and all the tourists were white. To be sure, this is not the first place where this has been true (the Marquesas, for example); but there was something about this place that made it more inescapable somehow.

ferryman

Maybe it wasn’t even this divide so much as the fact that we have, for the most part, not been surrounded by lots and lots of other tourists, and there is something about the idea that all these people have just come here to soak up the sun and drink cocktails that is kind of dispiriting. I honestly don’t know why this struck him (and me to a lesser extent) so much harder here than, say, Mo’orea, which is filled with tourists, except maybe that in Mo’orea we weren’t staying with them…

Getting in and out of town was a bit of a production involving first a boat (see above) and then a bus. From my point of view this was fine, as it gave us lots of opportunities for curious conversations. One morning I sat next to a schoolteacher who kept instructing the driver to stop and pick up little boys, who were clearly otherwise going to be left by the side of the road!  He was the one who explained to me that some of the children go to school in English and some go to school in French. No one goes to school in Bislama, seemingly, though everybody speaks it…

The resort’s secluded setting worked well for our boys, however, who by this time are beginning to burn out. We did get them out to the market one day, and they did do a lot of snorkeling in the marine preserve right off the island (which, incidentally, had live coral unlike everywhere else we’ve been — Seven said it was magnificent, like an underwater flower garden). But most of the time they spent picking up and practicing this useful skill:

Matiu playing pool

more pool

In which, of course, they were being coached by their father…

seven playing pool

I, on the other hand, whiled away the hours as I have elsewhere, though, I have to confess, I am not doing anything very productive here…

me reading

…reading not some foundational archaeological text but — wait for it — Dani’s copy of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. (Note to those who are following along — we have now sent the first 6 books in the series to Fine and Sateki’s eldest girl, who, according to her auntie, is reading them aloud to her brother and sisters. I might have to drop her a line now that I’ve re-read book 6 and suggest that she keep that one to herself…too sad for small children if you ask me).

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1 Comment

Filed under Family, Oceania, Pacific Islands, South Pacific, travel, Vanuatu

One response to “Vanuatu II

  1. Gail Cohen

    The divide you speak about is exactly why I cannot ever revisit Bermuda … it made me so sad and seemed so unfair. To watch the tourists drinking and eating big meals while they are being waited on by the locals is painful.

    On the other hand, the underwater sea garden off Vanuatu sounds wonderful! And I am relieved to hear that the earth was quiet while you were there.

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