I didn’t know much about Vanuatu before I arrived (well, you can pretty much say that about most of the islands I visited) but it’s meant to be quite a popular tourist destination. Not as popular as say Fiji or the Cook Islands, but talking to a few relatives a couple of years after I made these trips, it turns out that they actually visited the islands themselves while on a cruise.
My understanding of this country is that their history flies a little closer to France rather than the Britain. This comes through in a few ways, one of them being that, unlike all of the other islands we’ve visited, they drive on the right hand side of the road.
We arrived at Port Villa on Saturday afternoon. The air was still humid, but less so than Fiji. One could almost say it was “cool”, and I do recall occasionally wearing a thin jumper while I was there.
We arrived at the airport and waited at immigration to enter the country. There was this Chinese couple in front of us trying to get through customs. It was just us and them in the line at that point. In very broken English, they were trying their best to communicate with the customs officer. My boss, who also hailed from China, moved up to them to offer to help them translate. It took a while but they managed to get through. After we cleared customs, my boss turned to me and said “I couldn’t understand what they were saying.” Such was their dialect being so different from Mandarin.
The taxi ride to the hotel, the The Melanesian Port Vila, was about 10 minutes or so (can you believe it, it’s still starred in my Google Maps). Apart from arranging the hire care, I don’t recall us doing much during that first day. I believe the world cup was on at the time which my boss was interested in watching. I was happy with just chilling out in my room, and I think I spent most of my time that day listening to music and playing around with Go on my laptop.