Monday, September 16, 2013

Yellow flower

An early morning snorkel in the warm waters of Lamen Bay of Epi Island (Vanuatu) yielded a vivid site for our eyes of coloured coral and cute clown fish, among many others.

As we had managed to round up a group of 10 for a feast at Atis Jack's, we all congregated at the beach where Atis met us at 17:00. With Jack in bare feet, everyone followed him through the rough ground of the lush green rainforest of trees and vines up to the top of the steep hill where he has lived with his family for the past several years. (Many natives we have met throughout our travels prefer to be barefooted and as a result their feet are very tough and hardened.)

He walked us past a couple of his grazing cows to the magnificent viewpoint where we could all see our boats anchored down below.

View of the bay

Next we were presented with a beautiful surprise. Atis and Helen's daughter had strung together a yellow lei for all 10 of us and she hung them around each of our necks. I later asked Helen what was the name of the beautiful yellow flowers and she replied Yellow flower. She then started to giggle admitting that she had no idea what the name of the flower was, it was just Yellow flower. Simple enough, that works for us!

Our first lei

With benches and tree stumps in a circle for seating, we had been admiring the laid out feast on a simple wooden table covered with large banana leaves for an elegant and natural tablecloth. It tasted as delicious as it looked.

Bountiful buffet

Atis showed us how he makes fire by the old method of rubbing wood on wood and how he splits open coconuts. Afterwards, we imbibed the tasty, nutritious coconut water.

He also relayed several folklore stories, 1 of how Kava had been discovered by woman...

A woman sent to the bush by her angry man saw a rat chewing on a pepper root, then relaxing in a very contented mood. Upon awakening, the rat would chew some more on a root, with the same result. When the rat fell asleep, the woman decided to try the root and decided this would also make her grumpy man happy. Upon taking some home, her man quickly decided the root would be for men only!

Today, very few women partake of the Kava root in Vanuatu and on some islands, women are not allowed - not even tourist women.

After an evening of great views, food, and tales, Atis walked us all down the hill and back to the beach where we dinghied back to our boats, still wearing our beautiful yellow flowers!

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