20 April 2010

I be cruising! - Part Two

(Part One can be found here) Next up, day 6, Port Vila! Port Vila is the capital city and also the largest city of Vanuatu, and let me just say it was an experience you don't forget in a hurry. One thing I loved about this whole trip (and yes, I am a nerd) was seeing the different cultures, way of life, people. I live in Melbourne, Australia, I have my whole life as have all my friends. You see movies and hear the news of foreign countries and until you actually see it for yourself you don't really realize how different other places in the world really are when compared to your own.

That's not to give the impression of 'oh my god, they actually live like this!?' as if to say 'our way of life is so superior'. Not at all, I am merely stating that it is very very different, something I find very interesting!

If I had to sum up Port Vila in a word, I would say: hectic. The town lives and breathes tourism, and the locals know it. As soon as you step out of the dock (and this is not a joke) there is literally 3 dozen locals all fighting for your attention in the hope you'll take one of their cabs into town, and wow are they persistent! As a tip, make sure you haggle, never accept their first price.

Port Vila was a great place to do some shopping (which was great because I was yet to buy stuff for friends back home). There is a main road that has most of the commercially owned shops, but just behind that by the bay was the local huts (which in my opinion are much cooler!). While shopping we got followed... actually make that stalked, by one of the crazy taxi drivers I mentioned earlier on. He literally walked around with us as we went in and out of shops in the hope we would finish our shopping and wanted to be taken somewhere else.

Eventually I turn to him: "Nah sorry, we aren't ready to leave yet, we are looking for Michael's wife, can't find her" (Michael doesn't have a wife by the way).

Taxi whisperer: "Oh ha ha, that's funny! Well, how about I drive you around and we look for her?"

... that was strange.

Anyways, eventually we did decide to end the shopping and do some sight seeing (Taxi Whisperer was so happy that his patience had paid off with us, not before saying "forget the wife, we will find her on the way back!"), so we went to the absolutely beautiful Cascade Waterfalls.

That's not before experiencing one of the most insane times of my life haha, the driving over there is... let me put it this way. Imagine seeing a line of ants following a thin path from the gap in your door to the sugar jar, each ant just behind the one in front moving along that same small path, with each ant often behaving in a 'stop start' motion and frequently having to veer a little to avoid crashing into ants traveling in the opposite direction... now imagine that same scenario but instead of a thin path, it is a web of roads, potholes and pedestrians, and instead of ants, it is vans and cars. I was fearing for my life but high on adrenaline at the same time haha!

Again I will let the pictures do the talking of Cascade Waterfall.

Day 7 - Pentecost Island. Umm... what the hell is with this place!? For those of you who are unaware, Pentecost Island has a lot of rich and... unique history. I will not go into too much detail (it is quite graphic so I'd hate to scare the younglings) but Pentecost is very famous for their tradition of 'land diving'... which yes is pretty much how it sounds.

If you look closer there is a man standing at the top of that tower. The tradition is to climb that tower, tie these special vines around their ankles that grow in the forest behind, dance and clap a lot and then jump off the tower!.. but before any of you over zealous minds jump to conclusions, they do indeed survive, the vines are strong and catch their fall just before the hit the ground... well that is what is supposed to happen lol. We got to witness this first hand... I know I was a mix of fright, excitement, confusion, anxiety, disbelief... no way this guy is going to ju... oh my god he just jumped off the tower!

A sight that you don't get to see everyday.

This was the last island to see so it was smooth sailing for the next 3 days back to Sydney. As mentioned we made friends with those 3 girls who were now a core part of our trip. The next day us guys and the girls played bingo, did rock and roll dance lessons (in the end I got pretty good lol), swam in the pool, drank and partied every night, watched comedians, saw a really well done circus act, ate, ate some more, drank a little, ate some more while drinking. It was a great time!

This recount was just the tip of the iceburg... so much more stuff happened, the people I met... Penny, Matt, Emily, the girls..., the sights I saw that I didn't get pictures of, the relaxation, the feeling of being so lucky to actually be traveling around this beautiful world of ours... just wow.

Alas, it was time to come to an end. The last night was the worst, we had become such good friends with the 3 girls it was so sad to have to say goodbye. Michael and Hayley had become somewhat of an item in the last few days so that made it especially hard for them... I remember about 1am we said our goodbyes and went to our separate cabins, wishing we could stay for another week.

I definitely wasn't ready for bed, nor was Jason, lets get the girls out of bed! After a lengthy argument where Rod wanted to go to sleep, Mick didn't want to see Hayley again because saying goodbye once was hard enough, and the fact we weren't sure if they were already sleeping or not, it ended in Jason and I were only allowed to go wake them up on the agreement that we walked to their cabin in only our underwear lol... it was totally worth it!

The girls found it hilarious when we showed up, we invited them back to our cabin and we all stayed up laughing, reminiscing about the trip, remembering the good times, how good it was meeting each other and how close we had become, we made some plans to visit some time when we get back home. Eventually all of us just drifted off to sleep at about 6am... the trip really couldn't of ended any better then that.


Sue Lin said...

Omg love!!! U know i have never heard of Vanuatu before moving to Australia. I THINK its not known to the rest of the world, the cruise thingie u did isnt something i've heard of before. I've glanced at adds before but thats about it, Ur story really brings me there =) Good job. More pix if u can! I wanna see PEOPLE pictures please!

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