Monday, May 3, 2010

A concert on the water, HIV/AIDS training, a white sandy beach and an earthquake.

Yesterday we went over to Iririki Island Resort because we had been told there would be a reggae show at noon. Sara loves her reggae! The little ferry to Iririki leaves right from downtown Vila. Iririki is a big, beautiful resort with all these amazing pools that run into each other, and a nice restaurant and bar, and lots of tourists from Australia and New Zealand. There were lots of Ni-Vanuatu people and some from Fiji as well that came over for the show. The stage was set up right in front of the water, which was an amazing backdrop for the show. They had a few food items as well as Tusker (the local Vanuatu beer) for happy hour price. so of course we had to take advantage of that. After a few episodes of sprinkles/threatened rain, the music finally started. Turned out it wasn't a reggae band at all, but the Vanuatu, Fiji, and Solomon Islands Idols. They did a variety of music with only 1 or 2 reggae songs and even a country song, but that one just didn't sound right. After the show, this guy walked up to us and asked if we were American or Canadian because of our accents. It turns out he's the head of the Peace Corps here and is American but has been living here for many years. He told us they were having an HIV/AIDS training about educating the community all this week and invited us to come! It's interesting the connections you make when you least expect it.

This morning we went to the training, which turned out to further out than we anticipated. We were told to go to Honeymoon Beach, and it would be right across the street. Getting there involved going out of town, down continuously more narrow and bumpy roads full of crazy potholes, in a bus (which are vans which will generally take you wherever you ask them to) that seemed a bit rickety to begin with. Fortunately there aren't too many buildings out there, so it didn't take long to discover that it was being held in a large community room at a campground. One thing we hadn't been anticipating was that they were all speaking Bislama. Fortunately we've been working on trying to learn some, and it's close enough to English that you can pick out a fair amount. The native English speakers are so much easier to follow because they speak it more clearly and precisely. Since it was a subject we're familiar with, were able to understand enough of what was being said to follow along. They gave us a binder full of fliers and info and articles, pretty much all in Bislama too. Fun!

After the training, we went over to check out Honeymoon Beach. Apparently it's one of the few white sandy beaches in Vanuatu (or this island at least?) It was beautiful and completely deserted, just this little strip of beach. There were a few small shelters that must be used for wedding ceremonies. We saw lots of little crabs, and some bigger crabs, and I saw a little sea snake too. Then down the beach there was garbage - tin cans and pieces of metal and plastic, and apron and a shoe and part of purse. Such a shame. When we left we had to walk up the road a bit to catch a bus. It was a bit like walking down a road through the jungle.

Sara wading in at Honeymoon Beach

We tried a new grocery store on the way home - Au Bon Marche Numbatu. Bislama is very phonetic, that would be Number Two. It was much bigger than the other one we've been going to, and actually had some good fish. Fish has been surprisingly hard to find here, at least some that we'd want to eat. We got a big, wonderful looking tuna steak for about $8! Just ate it for dinner, yum.

We actually just felt a small earthquake a moment ago.  It's funny, I had just been thinking earlier today that earthquakes are supposed to be common here, but we hadn't felt one yet. It was just the slightest shaking and didn't last long.

Back to the hospital tomorrow!


  1. Sounds like quite an adventure. I'm glad that you gals are staying somewhat balanced...working hard, going to concerts, drinking beer, finding beaches...can't wait to see all of the photos at accompany the stories!

  2. There are a bunch of Peace Corp meetings happening all month long at Coconut Palms, a few also had a dinner party in the Baby Doc lounge while I was there - it was kinda of nice to see a bunch of Americans since as you've prob noticed there aren't many around.