We've made it to Vanuatu! It only took about 25 hours of travel time to get here, but we're here. We have an overnight layover in Port Vila and then we'll be on one more flight to an outer island that will bring us to our good friends in Luganville where we will join them on their boat. Since our “hotel” (it's a pretty awesome “hotel”...more like an open air beach bungalow where we can open our wall of shutters, sit on our deck, and hang our tosies in the's really great) in Port Vila has a wifi signal, I thought that I should send out a quick little update because I'm not sure when we'll be able to do this again. I'm also pretty sure that just about none of you will ever make it to this place so I'm going to fill you in on what it's like.

First of all, it's pretty awesome here. We've had about 6 hours to wander around Port Vila and it's nothing like any place either of us have ever been. Port Vila is on the island of Efate and is the capitol of Vanuatu. It's not a large city by western standards but there are about 45,000 residents which makes it the largest city in this island nation.

There are the obvious things that make it different from the States, like that fact that it's a tropical island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. There are roads with little white lines that tell you where you are supposed to be driving (no one pays attention to those lines) and there are obviously no traffic cops because people drive as fast as they want. The public transportation is great and plentiful. The city buses are minivans that residents own and have a “B” on them to signify that you can flag them down for a ride. There are no bus stops. Just wave, they stop, and then tell them where you want to go. Sort of like a taxi but it's only a buck to go anywhere and they'll cram as many people and livestock and vegetables and whatever into them that they can fit. And remember those white lines on the roads that I told you about? Yep, they don't pay attention to them either. I haven't seen a vehicle yet that doesn't have at least on large dent in it's side.

The main language spoken here is Bislama but it seems that just about everyone we have talked to speaks enough English for us to get by. The English that is spoken tends to be a mixture of pigeon and Bislama so we have to concentrate when we are conversing and infer some meaning just a little, but it works.

In our 6 hours of roaming around town, we have seen what could be the best open air farmer's market in all of the world (at least as much of the world as we've seen). This is the real deal folks. The produce comes from local people on the island who grow this stuff in their back yard and is the best produce we have ever seen. It's all organic, local, pesticide free, homegrown, and I'm pretty sure it's free-range (and whatever other trendy words are in style right now). It's the best looking produce that I have ever seen and it's brought there by the people who grow it and there is a ton of it. We were sort of wishing we needed to stock up on groceries because a lot of this stuff was hard to pass up. We felt like teenage girls at the mall because we wanted everything.

Sharing the same space as this farmer's market is also the best food that I have eaten in a while. Think of food trucks but better. There is a section of the market that has about 15 different food vendors that will cook you a meal using those fresh and local ingredients that come from the market. Each of these food vendors has a pick-nick table and a hot-plate, which is their personal restaurant, and a wash area which is shared by all of the vendors. They will whip up a delectable meal right in front of you and it's only $4. Did I tell you how good it was? It was great. And it was $4. Incredible. And the best part is that when the woman who cooked for us finished cooking, she sat down and talked with us. It was really interesting to get her story and some insight on the local history and culture.

We've also seen remnants of Cyclone Pam that hit the Island a few months ago. Pam was the worst natural disaster in Vanuatu's history and also one of the worst cyclones that has ever gone through the South Pacific. There are boats that have been washed ashore, trees that have been blown over, and damaged roofs and homes. For the most part though, the island has done a major clean up and rebuild that almost erased the devastation that was caused.

So that's about all I have time for. We are severely jet lagged and have been up for about 36 hours. We are off to bed and will check back in when we can. We will be sleeping under a mosquito tent with the Pacific Ocean at our doorstep. Incredible. Tomorrow we'll be on another airplane and then on a boat and then more excitement will happen I'm sure. Until next time.  

the view out our hotel room
Brenda wondering if there are shark's out there???
The Farmer's market is AWESOME!

These are the "restaurants".  Each table is a different restaurant.  Delicious!!!

Left over from Cyclone Pam.


  1. so exciting and beautiful! have fun ... love you both. xoxo


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