Thursday, August 29, 2013

Around town

As we wait for engine parts, we have wandered all around town. Tree ferns are an unusual sight here in Port Vila (Vanuatu). Tree tops are chopped off and statues of ancient beings are carved in the porous trunk and displayed in gardens and yards.

Very weird tree structure

There is a very large and well stocked market near the Marina and it seems to run from early in the morning till late in the evening. Apparently the proprietors stay all night, sleeping under the tables on their home-made mats. It is nicknamed Mama's Market, probably because 99% of the workers there are older women. Some of it is totally outside in the open air but most of it is covered overhead with a roof.

Mama's Market

It is full of fresh fruits and vegetables including 2-foot long yams, nice tomatoes, live chicken, nuts threaded onto bamboo shoots, peanuts still attached to their vines, mega flowers that are huge, etc.

Fresh from the vine

Flowers everywhere

In one area at long rows of tables, women, waving off incessant flies, are selling cooked snack meals of fish or chicken and starchy taro or manioc all served on leaves (I think they call it laplap). At lunchtime, you can barely walk down the aisle as patrons choose their meals!

Which one should I try?

When not walking, we have occasionally caught a bus or taxi. The taxis are vans and they are everywhere in great abundance with van after van after van following each other up and down the one main street of town. Just wave one down and you have an instant ride for $1500 Vatu each (about Cdn $1.50).

Locals have a different definition of quality, as shown here:

Once again, we are at a dock at full moon. But this time, we don't have to jump up or down to reach Sea Turtle as at Vuda Point Marina in Fiji. Instead, we walk the plank! All boats at the concrete seawall use a plank to get to and from their boat. This can be daunting at the extreme tides or when the boat is rocking.

While tied up, we are delightfully serenaded by a small local bird, twice the size of a hummingbird, with a wide range of song. Tweets, chirps, whistles, and warbles - daytime, night-time - around he goes...

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