No plan is the best plan, and I always follow this rule when I am traveling, but it is not a good idea every time.
A Frenchy friend told me that 2-3 weeks is not enough for traveling in Vanuatu but he never told me why? Well, there are 2 main passenger ferry companies in Vanuatu and one of them is Vanuatu ferry which owns 2 boats running to north and southern islands once a week. Moreover, it takes at least 12 hours to get to each island. Now I understand why he said so.
I arrived in Vanuatu on Wednesday but the ferry which is going to the northern islands only departs on Mondays, so I decided to go the wharf and asked for any cargo boat to the north. Finally I jumped into one cargo boat but then they kicked me off suddenly (kidding), I just didn’t have any luck because it is all full.
Eventually, I booked a ferry to Tanna at the southern part of Vanuatu which is departing on a Saturday. Usually this ferry departs every fortnight, while that is being organised, I rented a car went around the Efate island.
It is funny that cars are more expensive than a quad bikes which is only NZD$5, well, it was humid and raining too so I have no choice. Local people in the hostel had told me that people here are so nice and friendly, that I can go to any community in any village and ask a chief if they can host or give free homestay then they can help me and let me stay for free, so i decided to test the theory.
I drove a car and stop at one village, actually I just wanted to ask for directions but I ended up asking for free homestay as suggested by friends in the hostel.
Fiona is the first person to come and to talk with me and she suggested me to Ethra because her house is still going through renovation, so Ethra is happy and she welcomed me to stay with her and her family.
Ethra has a nakamal (kava bar), and she was preparing kava when i arrived, so Fiona showed me around the village where it’s close to the sea. We were talking about many things and they really want to work in New Zealand like others because their cost of living is so high and they get less income.
In the evening, it was time for the kava bar to operate, and Ethra opened a lamp and hang at front of her bar (it means there is kava for selling here), and she asked me to drink some kava again and again and again. She said that the Vanuatu kava is better than Fiji kava that i tasted before, and she was right, oh yeah!.
In returning her the favor of hospitality, I cooked some Thai food for her and Fiona’s family to have dinner together, and before that we went out to drink kava in another village.
She is really nice to me and her family is lovely. She always check if i’m ok? And she checks everything to make sure I am comfortable, like, can you drink rain water? Can you sleep on the floor? Can you take shower from the well? Etc… Her husband is also helpful and gave me many information and their children of 4 and 5 years old are very cute and talkative. They try to speak English with me and we all can understand each other.
Next morning she played me a village music that was recorded by the people in the village and I also gave them a little souvenir. “you can come back anytime if you have a chance”, she said.
While I was driving back to Port Vila, I met one old lady on the way. She was hitchhiking and asked me if I can drop her in town, so we both traveled together and ended up driving her everywhere. She also helped to bargained for my ticket fee.
I can conclude to say people here are so friendly and awesome. They never missed to say say hi, smile and give help to anyone. To me, I don’t have to visit luxury places or best scenic, but just only meet amazing people and their smiling and sympathy is the most beautiful thing.
Source: Medium.com, by Temsiri Tem, a traveler who likes taking journeys to broaden his views.
Photo by Daisy the Drone