The return flight from Santo to Efate with Air Vanuatu went almost smoothly … this time they suddenly remembered that the domestic baggage allowance is only 10kg and wanted to charge us overweight. After some very clear words about what we thought about their airline we were able to sort that issue out fairly quickly though.
This time we had planned more than an (involuntarily long) stopover on Efate. Captain James Cook had actually christened these islands Sandwich Islands … boy this guy had discovered so many islands in the South Pacific that he seemed to be getting really bored with the names: “Hey look, there are some more beautiful islands on the horizon … and I’m having a sandwich. So let’s call them Sandwich Islands!”
Our Australian host Damien picked us up at the airport and off we went to Mele beach through potholes that would pass as swimming pools in some other places. In fact the pool at the Little Italy Hotel on Tongatapu probably was the same size as these potholes! Damien was a funny character: originally a software programmer he decided that life in Vanuatu was a lot easier and built an apartment house directly on the beach. Despite his non-stop consumption of coke (the drink … not the powder) not the most talkative person we ever met – but he had programmed his very own hotel movie entertainment system based on his extensive DVD collection 🙂
After we had settled in, we were craving some fresh coconut and took a short walk into nearby Mele village thinking village + coconut trees = coconuts for sale. Well not in an island village where every local who wants a coconut just climbs the next tree and gets one – so who would bother to buy one (except those stupid tourists)? But maybe if they sold enough coconuts to tourists they would be able to do renovate their sheet metal shacks? It certainly is a different kind of life with kids and pigs running around, one neighbour providing half of the village with music from his wooden hut and old gramps enjoying the view from her outdoor toilet house …
Only a few hundred metres down the beach from our apartment was Mele Beach Bar, which served some wicked iced coffees and excellent wood fired pizzas. Walking back to our place we came across this sign and realised what a funny language Bislama actually is.
Likum yu bagkegen!