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Published: September 23rd 2010
Our flight back to Vila was at 11am so we had a few hours to wait, so we walked along the shoreline and waited for an internet café to open. The flight was ok and we were soon back in Vila. We caught the mini-bus to Villa Hibiscus and booked in to our room. It was very clean but unfortunately above a little shop which made it very noisy at night as every man and his dog came in to buy phone top ups every 2 seconds.
We had muslie and fruit for breakfast bought from the market from the day before. Phil was not feeling too good so we slowly walked to the Nambawan Café for our internet and coffee fix. We then caught the bus up to the car rental place and booked a car for the following day as they were all out of the cheaper rentals. By the time we got back, Phil had a fever and had to lie down. The night was no better and Phil’s temperature was very high.
We booked an extra night at Villa Hibiscus and were picked up by Budget to
get our car. We ended up with a very new Hyundai. It was scary driving on the wrong side of the road and even scarier when we hit the curb. The tiny plastic car made a noise and we thought we had done some major damage. Fortunately, we only had a slashed front tyre, instead of ripping off the front fender as it had sounded like. After changing the tyre, we found that the two front tyres are smaller than the two rear ones, and the spare tyre was a larger rear spare. So we drove around with uneven tyres.
The Chinese war ship was in the harbour for an official visit and the public could go onboard to have look. We drove carefully around to where the ship was docked and boarded the ship. It was meticulous with the Asian sailors standing to attention everywhere to make sure nothing went wrong. My bag got checked with a detector before I could board. They were there to answer any questions you had.
I had lunch on the way back at The Rock café which was rapidly becoming our favourite place to eat. Phil still wasn’t hungry and we
went back to the room for a lie down. I sat on the caged balcony and watched all the people in the street. There is always something to watch. After a sleep, Phil felt a bit better so we walked down to Moorings Hotel and had dinner on our very own private deck looking over the harbour.
Time to leave Villa Hibiscus and leave the rat race and noise. We drove to Blue Water Resort and were disappointed to see it was looking shabbier than before. It was a million dollar location with huge amounts of maintenance needing to be done. Our Bungalow was just as we remembered it and the staffing situation was not much different from the last time when the staff had walked out. There was no chef but we said we were not fussy, and there was no power so the fridge in the room was useless, and the ceiling fan didn’t work – never mind you come to expect that, and we certainly weren’t complaining about the surroundings – it was heaven!
The generator had broken down and we ended up not having any power at all so no ceiling
fan even for a couple of hours which was not good when there was no air movement and Phil still felt warm and feverish. Gloria, the woman running the place cooked us spaghetti bolognaise which was ok, and we ate at the table outside by candlelight and mossies.
By the morning Phil’s sense of humour had run out and we decided to go back to town to get a cooler night’s sleep and book into a more expensive hotel. I also didn’t fancy spending the night sitting on a tiny balcony breathing in car fumes, looking through a rusty cage topped with barbed wire. I think my sense of humour had also run out.
We booked into The Melanesian which was very nice and had a pool right outside our room. I walked up to the supermarket and bought a bottle of Aussie Chardy and some more fabulous bananas. I am definitely not game to drive here, so I’d rather walk anytime. We did drive down to the chemist and get some tablets for Phil. In Vanuatu, you don’t have to get a prescription from the doctor for tablets, but the older white guy –
John Mansel who was running the chemist, was all but a doctor anyway. He was quite a character and had a lot of family dotted around the east coast of Australia.
We enjoyed the continental breakfast that morning and I went for a walk down the street to do window shopping while Phil slept some more. It was overcast and looked as if it should be cold, but it was lovely and warm. The internet was very slow in the hotel so we went back to the café for a coffee and faster internet. We also took the shredded tyre to the repairer which happened to be right across the road from The Melanesian hotel. We needed more rest time in Vila, so we had to book another hotel which was not as expensive as this one. I found another one right next door to this one on the internet.
The room was fine except for the smell of a dead mouse in there somewhere; however outside the room from the balcony, it looked like a bomb site. There was an empty pool and half built walls and men sanding and grinding
and making heaps of noise. That is why it was cheaper I guess. We dumped our bags and decided to go down to the harbour again for internet and coffee.
There was a massive cruise ship in the harbour – P&O Pacific Jewel. You can always tell the passengers because they have a tag around their neck and several bottles of duty free alcohol in their hands. Most of these people were older and extremely overweight – I guess that is why they like the ship. Phil was slowly feeling better and as long as we sat somewhere for a while, he could cope. We drove to where the ship was parked to have a closer look. There were about a hundred stalls set up on the side of the road next to the wharf, selling the same stuff and people were buying heaps and having their hair braided. Good for the Ni-Van economy.
Phil was finally well enough to want dinner so we went to our favourite restaurant called Kanpai. The food was excellent, and was as good as here in Australia.
We tried to book in with Gideon at Havannah Harbour Eco
Lodge, but unfortunately, it was all booked out. We went to the Secret Garden which was a great place for a bit of history on Vanuatu. A young daughter of a chief told us about the traditions as we walked around and saw different huts, how to make lap lap, and why they drink kava. Phil held a snake, and I held an iguana and a coloured parrot which pooped down my front – I guess that’s supposed to be good luck!
We found an excellent beach bar right at the jetty to Hideaway Island which had fast internet and cold beer. From there we organised to stay at Hideaway Island for two nights in a double room with shared amenities. The room was lovely, the food was great, the view was fantastic and the cost was the same as a low budget hotel room in the middle of Vila.
The weather was perfect and after a yummy continental breakfast, we went for a snorkel. The fish and coral were great and I actually stayed in the water for a whole hour before getting out. I sunbaked for only five minutes before my skin started
burning so I didn’t stay out for too long. While having a mid-morning rest, we had a reasonable sized earthquake, which we found out later measured 5 on the Richter scale. A few more cracks appeared in the walls of the building and when you are on the second floor the whole building wobbles.
We caught the boat to the mainland so we could use the internet at the Beach Bar which also serves great coffee and lunch. After lunch, it was time to go back and do some more snorkelling. I found Nemo’s cousin, who was madly protecting young ones in the soft coral that they love. Before we knew it, it was dinner time again. We felt a mild after shock to the earthquake during the night.
It was time to move on again, and to our surprise, Worawia Resort was almost next door to the Beach bar. We make it a habit of moving just next door. The place was gorgeous, with a pool and cute fully self contained bungalows. They had a cute dog called Snoopy who always came to say hello and wanted a pat. After dumping our bags we
drove into Vila for lunch and to get a few supplies. Unfortunately, it was after 12.00pm which means you can’t buy alcohol until Monday morning – so no cheap beer.
We went to the Mele Cascades in the afternoon and the weather was a bit overcast which made it more pleasant for the walk to the top. It was as beautiful as ever and we went for a swim in one of the middle pools as the top was full of young noisy Aussies. It was very refreshing and the swim cooled us down for the walk back to the car.
We ordered dinner at the resort which was brought to our room that night. It was the best piece of steak so far! The owners are lovely people and make sure we had everything we wanted. There was an older Brisbane couple next to us on one side and a mob of young noisy kids on the other side, but they soon were quiet later that night thank goodness. However the guy from Brisbane snored so loud, it sounded like a horse snorting and finishing off with a gasping sound.
We were pleasantly
surprised to have breakfast supplied to the room in the morning. I’ll never get sick of tropical fruit and juice in the mornings. There was an unusual fruit called soursop which tasted like fruit salad with a hint of coconut and was soft, white and mushy – very nice! Since it was Sunday, we decided to drive around the whole Island.
We stopped off at the place we wanted to stay at (Havannah Eco Lodge) but it was fully booked. It looked great and that will definitely be on the cards next time we visit. A little up the road was a really upmarket hotel called The Havannah. We decided to stop and have lunch there. It was a real treat, fancy and divine food. I believe the rooms or bungalows were $700 per night!
Moving on from there, we passed the old military dumping ground where loads of stuff was dumped into the sea. There was another massive resort being built further towards the top of the island and many blocks for sale.
Coming down the other side of the island took us past the famous Blue Lagoon again, and a fabulous beach called Eton Beach.
It was a stunning sheltered cove where a lot of the locals come for a Sunday picnic. Further around, led us back to Pt Vila. We stopped at a place called The Saloon Bar and Grill for a nice steak.
After another night of our neighbours loud snoring, we moved back to Vila, to a great hotel called The Olympic. It was definitely the best in Vila so far, quiet, cool and comfortable with an affordable price tag. Phil went to see Boma at the Fire Station and I did a bit of window shopping. We have been trying to get to Iririkki Island for a while so we went across on the ferry and had happy hour in a very fancy area, and dinner in a fancy restaurant called The Watermark. The food was delicious and it was ok to pretend that we were rich for a while but I was glad that we were going back to our comfortable cheap hotel and not paying $500 per night.
Another lovely day in Paradise and Phil went to the embassy to see if he could talk to someone there about help for
the fire brigade, but as usual a quick fob off and we might get back to you next day. We made the most of the views and had a beer at the Nambawan Café and watched the sun go down. Last dinner in Vanuatu had to be the great Japanese at the Kanpai restaurant again– yummy!
Time to pack for home again! It was so lovely and warm and hard to imagine that in a few hours we will be cold again – Hurry up summer! Until next time beautiful Vanuatu.
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