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Vanuatu day 3 - Hideaway Island & Kava bar

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Vanuatu day 3 - Hideaway Island & Kava bar

STILL CLOUDY.  This morning we took the bus and a ferry to Hideaway Island. It’s a really small island, with white sandy beach, palm trees and crystal clear water. Snorkeling was good, heaps of different colored fish, bright blue starfish, rainbow fish, tigerfish, big clams, I don’t really know the names of all the fish, but it was like swimming in an aquarium.… And corals everywhere, although they told us that the latest cyclone had destroyed a lot of them. I managed to scratch my knee on one of the corals and it was bleeding and red for a few hours, but it’s good now. Because the damn sun wasn’t out, I got cold pretty soon in the water, so in the between I had a couple of pina coladas on the beach, under a palm tree :) not a bad way to spend a day…
There was this ‘world’s only underwater mailbox’ where you could send waterproof postcards and you had to dive to take it to the mailbox. Kind of a touristy thing, I’m usually not into that kind of things at all but it was cheap so I sent one to my dad. I don’t know if he is ever going to get it.
We got a lift back to town from this couple that owns half of the island. They told us that they live six months in Melbourne and then six months in Vanuatu every year. Sounds like a nice life to me, but they insisted that it’s not easy, and that was the first night that they had time to go out for a dinner in 4 months.
Then I came to my motel, had an ice cold shower with big ugly cockroaches accompanying me. Went online, and found out that I got my visa this morning! So it only took about 12 hours, that was quick! In the evening I watched a movie at the moonlight cinema.
I asked Darren if he could take me to a kava bar in the evening, because I read that women are not always welcome there and even if they are, they are only served after men. So I figured it would be better to go there with a guy.
Kava is what the locals drink here. It’s not alcohol; it’s some kind of narcotic. When the Europeans first arrived, they tried to put a stop to the kava drinking like they did to cannibalism (not so long ago!), without success. We had to ask 4 people before we found a kava bar that was open, and what do you know, just across the street from my motel! How convenient. You recognize a kava bar from this little kerosene lamp outside. The bars are dimly lit, probably so that you can’t see what you drink. Kava looks like muddy water, and smells and tastes like muddy water perhaps with a hint of wet grass. I’m actually not so sure that it’s not in fact just muddy water. I had 2 shells (it’s usually served in coconut shells). It makes your mouth feel strange, kind of numb or tingling. Otherwise I didn’t feel anything special, but it’s supposed to make you sleep better. So I’m definitely gonna buy it home to Melbourne! The locals there told us that it’s not good to drink it with alcohol or after drinking alcohol, otherwise you will feel sick. What the locals do, is they have 4-5 shells with biscuits or coke, then a couple of Tuskers (local beer) and then go home for dinner and sleep. There were maybe 10-15 people at the bar, everybody were friendly, towards me too. I wanted to take a photo but I didn’t want to stand out as a tourist (as if I didn’t otherwise).
I came home around 11 pm, I don’t know if it was the kava or what but I was really tired…

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