Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Vanuatu pictures

Here's a link to some more photos from Vanuatu:

Leaving western Australia tonight for Melbourne and the east coast. 3 weeks over there and then onto Bali!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Australia: Fremantle

Sunset after big storm in Freo
Back in my old stomping grounds of 2005, Fremantle, Western Australia. It's good to be back, meeting up with mates, going to favorite places and hitting the beach.

Things have been great, and the weather has been super hot until this afternoon when a big storm came in and just dumped the area with buckets of rain, plus some golf sized hail. The place where I'm staying, with 2 mates, had the back patio start to flood and we spent quite a while bailing it out and keeping the house from getting flooded. At one point, we were just 1 cm away from overflowing. But we kicked butt and got it down. Pretty amazing sunset afterwards before the rain came again. Whipped up some homemade pizzas and chilled inside, dry and warm.

Planning on more beach time, a trip out to Rottnest island to visit the marsupials, the quokkas, which look like big rats. Always a good time riding around the island. Just chilling with mates and living it up.

Vanuatu 2: island of black magic

On top of old smokey, all covered in rain
View from the plane
Cruisy way to travel
The jeep I rented in Port Vila
So Alisha and I flew out to her island, Ambrym, on a small 12 seat plane, with no doors to the pilots and amazing views of the islands out the windows. Landed on a grass airstrip surrouned by beach and jungle and then hiked with her host family to her village, a half hour away.

Black sand everywhere, the island is filled in the middle with volcanoes which affect the trees and crops due to acid rain and not the best soil. But there's still lots of produce coming from the ground, mostly root vegetables and coconuts. They make money off the coconunts and eat the other stuff, overall living a simple life and not needing money overall.

There was no electricity in the village, just one generator and a few solar panels, but otherwise, people wake up early with the sun and go to bed when it goes down. There's no fresh water on the island either so they collect rain water in wells.

We snorkelled around her beach, seeing a sea turtle and pretty much the whole cast of Finding Nemo except for Nemo himself. Had some big hikes around the area, to the gardens and up a small mountain to get to a sacred rock overlooking the beach. On the Friday we went on a hike up the volcano, which was amazinig, but was in pouring rain for the first 3 hours. Pretty soaked at the top, there was still an amazing view with a yellow red sky.

Alisha has two pets right now, Penny the pig and Lucky the dog. Both were awesome and playful, although both could be too noisy at times. She's got a cat on the way too, so it felt like a farm at times in her house.

And now I'm over in Australia, after 7 days in Vanuatu and living the easy life, getting a little dirty in the jungle and having a blast.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Vanuatu: south pacific island life

So I've been in Port Vila, the capital of Vanuatu for a few days now with my cousin Alisha who is here in the Peace Corp. Got lucky with her picking me up at the airport due to cyclones around the islands and her flight being cancelled for the previous 4 days, but she made it in time to meet me and then get rid of a chicken that she had in a bag that her village had given her as a present for a friend in town. Small island life where anything goes on a plane, and there is family on every island to meet.

We've been cruising around town and keep running into other peace corp volunteers. Been crashing at 2 volunteers flat which is pretty basic, but still a lot better than Alisha's island where we're headed today, land of black magic and volcanoes and no fresh water. Going to be rustic is putting it mildly.

Sadly no cannibals around anymore, last case was lsited in the 70s. Used to eat each other just as a source of meat in certain places. Interesting stories at the cultural center.

Rented a 4wd ghetto jeep and drove around half the island to Alisha's first host family, saw the laid back island life in the hot sun. Stopped off at some awesome waterfalls where we swam under them, jumped over them and slid down some. Definitley the highlight so far.

Drinking some local drinks with the locals which involves a lot of spitting after you drink. Apparently the taste gets worse the more you drink it, so it was a noisy venue and a good thing I was wearing shoes.

So now off to the airport to fly in a small propeller plane where you can see the pilots. Going to ask for wings like I did when I was a kid.

Hope all is well with everyone. The big adventure has started and it's rocking and rolling.