Waiting for spares.

Mon 22 Sep 2014 23:02
21st September 2014

There's a lot of waiting with cruising….either waiting for everyone to get their act together to go ashore in the dinghy to buy a few things….sorry forgotten my shoes etc, or waiting for a part to be made in England or waiting for a suitable weather window to begin our final voyage to Australia. Crochet is my saviour and has probably kept me sane these past 16 months, it's something to do when waiting indefinitely. I have bags of granny squares and need to learn how to attach them all together, I never had that lesson.

Meanwhile there's the market to absorb, the Ni-Van's (peoples of Vanuatu) are very happy to be photographed and we spent happy hours in the market.


Ladies husking coconuts.

Many sleep at the market having brought their produce from other islands on Monday.


This little family sells tomatoes.

They all wear the same colourful floral cotton dresses first run up on a Singer by the Presbyterian minister's wife about 150 years ago. Same style, long with puffed sleeves. I can imagine her arriving in dismay from Bonnie Scotland and her eagerness to hide all the ladies wee titties and get rid of those pesky grass skirts.

The Melanesians are very African looking. I can't work out how these peoples arrived here in the Western Pacific when Africa is the other side of the planet. Farther east the Polynesians are paler skinned and have more Asian features, they migrated eastwards from Asia and populated the islands of Fiji and beyond. The Melanesians of the Solomons and Vanuatu look similar to Aborigines with wide noses, tight curly hair and glossy black skin. How did that happen?
In fact walking down the road in Port Vila you could be in Zaire or Jamaica.

Independence came very recently in 1980 of which they are immensely proud and happily wear the nation's national colours. Red, yellow and green….the exact same colours of Jamaica and the flag is pretty much identical to the South African one. They were perhaps last to choose and there were few combinations left or did South Africa copy Vanuatu aha?? It's very funny because imported clothes from Jamaica are perfect…Rasta hats and Bob Marley T shirts are all the fashion. The one thing that makes you realise you are not in the Caribbean is the lack of music. Of all the Pacific islands Vanuatu doesn't appear to have a musical tradition. The harmonious choirs of Fiji haven't influenced these islands, nor the roaring Methodist singers of Tonga. Vanuatu has been absorbed into modern western music with no cultural identity. Its like elevator music, anything goes and as many Australians run the bars and hotels they get to choose.
The singing we heard at the Kastom Dance was for the tone deaf.

Just outside Port Vila is a precipitous range of hills and a lovely clear river pours over the jungle edge in a series of beautiful cascades.

The Government spent a fortune creating a cement ribbed pathway up these falls so people can climb up with out falling flat on their arses.


It's turned into a terrific tourist attraction and Andrew and I were seriously lucky to visit at lunchtime before the coach loads arrived.
Being accustomed to having islands to ourselves tourism Port Vila style is rather a shock. I'm not sure how we will ever recover when we get home. (no comment-Ed)


Wild Ginger Lily - so that's where Molton Brown gets it from.