Blue Pango view
Great view, very relaxing if only it would stop raining for long enough to use
When we landed at Vila airport, the weather was overcast but on entering the terminal the atmosphere was great. There was a lively band playing - their music is very similar to black American kind of jazzy.
It was warm, perfect t.shirt and shorts weather. Luckily we had booked a couple of nights to start as the islands are not at all like asia and it would be quite hard to wander around and find somewhere. We jumped in a taxi as we had not worked out the buses - shame it would have been much much cheaper and more interesting. The buses in PV are everywhere all the time, you just hail them and they take you to your door. It can be a great way to see the backstreets and get familiar with the places, cheap too.
Our first place of call was the Blue Pango, set about 10 mins out of town on the water. Great outlook, nice basic bungalows with a kitchen. We had not realised there would be no restaurant or café so it meant a trip straight back to town.
The town would more easily be described as a village or small country
Blue Pango view
Finally some sun, took some photos, got changed - and then it was gone.
town. There is really not a lot to Vila - not even a book shop. They are slowly getting a few things - like a surf shop…… (for the clothes). There are a few tourist shops, restaurants/cafes, 3 internet places, banks and motels. We tried out a Vietnamese restaurant the first night, not great food and about the same price as a good one here. We decided to try and self cater but there is not a lot too buy either. For the first few days we ate lunch out as we found a good lunch spot and for Breakfast we bought fruit from the markets and meat to BBQ at night. Not much salad stuff around so it was made up with bread. The local diet is mostly carbohydrate and meat.
On our way back we found we were waiting the wrong side of the road for the bus (they drive French side). Luckily the traffic moves slowly as we never really got the hang of looking the right way when crossing the road.
That night there were some very noisy Russians staying in the room next door - the only tourists we came across in a couple
Blue Pango view
Not so great for swimming unless you are a local kid
of days. The other white people in and around were all NGOs’ (non government organisations) or people who had moved out there, mainly Kiwi’s and Aussies.
We ended up staying 4 nights as it took us all this time to find out where to go and what to do, just to come to grips with how things worked etc. The second day I was going to go for a swim (between showers) but when I got to the edge of the pool there was a massive crab in it and as the pool was a bit green and you could not really see the bottom I was not game. Apparently the crabs get in all the time, about the size of a dinner plate.
There were 6 very young cute puppies - funny to watch - also the owners were building an extension - that was interesting too. They work slowly, but do 6 days, rain or shine.
One day the sun came out for a little while and we went for a swim - this was not easy as the waters edge is all lava and coral, large rough boulders and we could only find bits that were about
2 of 6
Friends for life after feeding left over steak
knee deep. We could not find a way out to deep enough water to swim or snorkel but the water was a great temperature.
We found ourselves going in and out of town on the buses quite a lot and got used to wandering around in the rain - it did not get cold but it was also impossible to get anything dry. We had not taken many clothes so got used to being permanently wet.
As we had not managed to find a nice beach where we could just swim we decided that we would bite the bullet and do the more expensive things we wanted to do. We booked a flight to Tanna (an island with an active volcano south of Efate). In the meantime we wanted to do a round island tour - tried to book a few but none would run as they needed a minimum of 4 and there were no people around so instead we played a round of golf. Lovely course but very expensive - funnily it is actually set on a lovely sandy beach (pity you could not stay there).
The markets were great and the produce tasted wonderful - they
Small mud crabs, So fresh they are still alive.
were also open 24 hours 6 days a week - odd when most other stuff was not open much at all, late open, early close, plus siesta.
On the Sunday a P&O Cruise came to town - funny to see all the people with their P&O ribbon round their necks advertising to locals to rip them off. In general the Ni-Van people are so honest and prices are fixed but cruise day they all put the prices up, taxi’s come out of the woodwork and if you walk around without a ribbon you get asked all the time if you are off the cruise ship - when you say no they laugh. In fact I have never seen so many people all laughing at the same time. The whole nation seems to be permanently laughing - they are so friendly, honest and happy - it was great to see.
We found over all the islands that it is really best to take your own laptop - that is what everything is geared for now. Many places had free WIFI but hard to find computers. It was hard to book stuff as most of that done by email which meant needing
to check it regularly.
We had to stock up for Tanna as we had read that it would be hard to get things - and also to take some kind of thing to nibble on for if you get desperately hungry. We did not really understand but took some biscuits anyway.
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