Take a break in Vanuatu

December 19, 2005

Take a break in Vanuatu

To be honest, before researching the South Pacific, I had no idea how close it really was to Australia. For example, Vanuatu sounds like an exotic far away destination, but did you know it is only three and a half hours from Sydney, and has no time difference during the Australian summer? I certainly didn?t.

So why did I choose to visit Vanuatu, I hear you ask. Well simply put: there are amazing deals to the South Pacific at the moment. As it?s officially the cyclone season, various online travel agencies are virtually giving away fabulous package deals. Of course, that means the chances of good weather is less likely, but if you?re willing to take the risk then it?s well worth it. For the record, during early December 2005, there was cloud cover for a few days accompanied by patches of sprinkling rain, but apart from there it was beautiful blue skies and warm summer sun. Perfect!


Vanuatu is a group of 83 islands in the South West Pacific. During the 1800?s, both English and French subjects settled there and in the early 1900?s both countries signed an agreement to make New Hebrides (as it was known then) a Condominium under joint management of both nations. In 1978, the Condominium arrangement ceased and since 1980, Vanuatu has been an independent Republic governed by its indigenous people.


Such a diverse history makes this country fascinating to visit. The French and English influences are still seen in the language of the people as well as in the various supermarkets and shopping centres. Although Ni-Vanuatu children are taught French and English during school, their main spoken language is
Bislama, a type of pigeon English. The Ni-Vanuatu people are friendly and welcoming. It isn?t uncommon for complete strangers to greet you ?Hallo? as they walk past you in the street. Despite their poverty, they don?t hassle you in the markets and there aren?t any beggars to be seen. It seems everyone is happy making their own way in life. Even catching a bus can be a friendly experience: buses in Vanuatu are simply mini-vans with the letter ?B? in the number plate. The locals and tourists alike all get around town in these buses and you?ll often see the bus driver?s wife or friend sitting next to him in the front seat.


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