Going troppo!


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Oceania » Vanuatu » Efate
December 8th 1991
Published: August 9th 2007
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The head office of the company I'd been working for closed their Sydney operations, and this provided a perfect opportunity to embark on a relaxing overseas holiday to the South Pacific. There are several great travel destinations in the islands of the South Pacific all just a short flight from the east coast of Australia. I chose Port Vila for my holiday, which is the capital of Vanuatu situated on Efate Island. I boarded a plane in Sydney for the effortless three hour flight before touching down in Vanuatu, and it felt like arriving in another world.

A short taxi ride followed to the hotel, dear reader, that was pre-booked as part of a package deal, and it was time to commence a month of fun in the sun. My room had it's own balcony and I dumped my bags and guitar, stripped down to shorts and a t-shirt and started to soak in the low key tempo of island life. The locals are very friendly and live their lives at a very slow pace, and I found my troubles magically start to wash away. Each morning I walked along the path to the beach to be greeted with a big smile by the locals and a friendly good morning as they casually strolled by. I was slightly surprised by the effusive greetings in the first couple of days on Port Vila, but before too long it became the most natural thing in the world. Where at first I thought there may be something wrong with the locals, I quickly came to realise there was something wrong with me!

And what a life the South Pacific paradise has to offer. The pace of island living makes you question what the rush is at home, and why we always seem to be racing around! I spent hours lazing on the beach and reading, and also swimming in the warm seas of the ocean under a perfect sky. There was a local labrador on the beach every day, and a superb predator to boot. He was obsessed with catching crabs and raced around trying to sniff them out. Once he located his potential prey he frantically dug away before pulling the crabs out making sure he avoided their vicious claws, then he rolled on them with his shoulder blades to crush the life out of his hapless victims.

I also had an amazing snorkelling experience in Port Vila. After hiring my gear I strolled to a secluded location at the back of the island that is renowned for tropical coral and fish. I swam out for a few metres and suddenly found myself in an aquatic paradise. I've never been amidst so many fish and they swarmed around nipping at my fingers and toes. The beautiful colours of the coral and the fish helped to made this swim an unforgettable experience. At one stage a strange girl swam up to me in the sea and we snorkelled together for ages in this surreal environment, she must have been a mermaid as I had no idea who she was or where she came from!

The days continued to roll by in a tropical haze, and I was getting crazy amounts of sun and swimming as much as a fish. I also enjoyed the superb meals every day at the quality restaurants dotted around Port Vila. Vanuatu is a brilliant holiday destination and towards the end of the month I was really going troppo! The islanders are big and gentle people who live their lives from day to day seemingly without a care in the world. Before too long holidaymakers in Vanuatu come to the realization that if the locals don't have any worries, why should you!

An Australian girl knocked on my door towards the end of the holiday and we went out to a few clubs, coincidentally at the same time a cruise ship docked in the capital. This suddenly turned Port Vila into party central, but the fact I avoided the bright lights until then proved that partying is not the main attraction when taking a holiday to the South Pacific, in fact I craved the opposite and quickly became accustomed to living the quiet life on the beach instead. Vanuatu is a superb travel destination where you can unwind and let your cares wash away. So if you're looking for a taste of island life in the South Pacific I suggest, basically all of you should be here now!


I love to be alone, I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude." Henry David Throeaux


Postscript: This month long trip to Vanuatu proved to be the final overseas destination visited during my twenties. I dedicated the next five years of my life to the performing arts in Sydney; specifically concentrating on furthering the fortunes of my rock and roll band Mind's Eye, while also obsessively focussing on the pursuit of dance. These lost travel years however, proved to be a hugely creative period in my life artistically.

The long travel hiatus doesn't end till 1997 so until then, I'm signing off for now

Tom

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