But now, at long last, I present...
The Adventures of Captain Poprocks: Melanesian Magic
This was our first family overseas holiday in quite a few years! We needed to get my dad and sister away from work for a few weeks so that they could actually have a holiday, and where better than a warm tropical island like Vanuatu :)
We stayed in resorts around the capital city, Port Vila, which is on one of the main islands, Efate.
Captain Poprocks didn't really enjoy the food on the plane, but the view wasn't too bad :P
We arrived on Kiah's birthday, and in the evening went out to the restaurant at the resort next door to celebrate! He got some nifty presents, and we enjoyed delicious cocktails and even more delicious food!
The first resort we stayed, Surfside at Breakas Beach was on the southern coast of the island, right on the beach. The villa even had its own plunge pool, although it was mostly a bit cool to swim in. We did lots and lots of crochet, reading, playing games, and eating amazing food at the restaurant next door.
We also discovered that the best way to get around Vila was by bus! The buses didn't have timetables or destinations - you just flagged down a passing minibus with a "B" number plate, climbed on, and they took you wherever you wanted in the city for about 100 vatu (about AU$1)! Some of the buses looked pretty dodgy (I imagine there aren't very strict road safety laws in Vanuatu), but we lived to tell the tale :)
In our explorations of Port Vila, one thing that really struck me was the immense poverty. There were many people who didn't seem to have jobs, and the local people mostly lived in little villages or communities, where the roofs were made of canvas or corrugated iron, and often there were no walls. My dad and sister who are Rotarians went to visit the local Rotary Club meeting, and learned about the charity and support projects in the area. Definitely a very different kind of place to Sydney!
On one day out in Vila, we went to a "Steak house", and James ordered the Monster Burger. When it came, it was a bit more monster than we expected... Turned out ok, Captain Poprocks did his share as well ;)
Our second resort, Poppy's on the Lagoon was, perhaps not surprisingly, on the south side of the lagoon which is a little bit inland. Again, our villa was only a metre or so from the beach, and right next to the multipurpose hut where meals were served and there were tables and chairs for sitting around on :) There were also some very cute resident cats who we made friends with - after a week without our furry friends, it was very nice to find some little bodies to cuddle.
One night there was an earthquake! At midnight, only for about 15 seconds, but it felt like the villa was swaying from side to side! So scary! I have never experienced an earthquake before. The next morning we asked the staff if there had been an earthquake, and they laughed and said "Yes, just a little one - only 6.5 on the Richter scale." I don't know about you, but that doesn't sound like a little earthquake to me.
The resort offered a special event to guests - "Melanesian Night"! We had traditional island food, accompanied by talks from the local people about culture, fashion, traditions, and food. We also got to try the local favourite beverage, kava. It was... horrible. I can only assume that the effect of drinking a lot is so desirable that it's worth the taste! The Captain tried some too, and perhaps went a little overboard?
On our last day, Kiah, my sister, my brother and my Dad went to Mele Bay for some adventures! They went abseiling down a waterfall, and then rolling down hills in Zorb balls. Sounds like lots of fun for them, but not really my style...
Captain Poprocks also got to meet some of the locals :)
In the evening, Mum and I met the others at the Beach Bar at Mele Bay, for dinner and to watch the Vanuafire Fire Show! It was absolutely amazing, and if you ever go to Vanuatu, I absolutely totally and definitely recommend seeing this show :)
After all of these adventures - some super relaxing, some totally crazy, Captain Poprocks was ready to come home. For such a young beastie, he has certainly racked up a decent number of frequent flyer miles! The view of the moonrise over the Gold Coast and Sydney as we flew home at sunset was pretty special :)