Welcome to Sydney!

Welcome to Sydney!

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Vanuatu - Part 3

One day we took a private tour around the island. Efate only has one road that goes around the island, so it is called the Ring Road. The Americans paid to have it built, and we definitely found that people there are very fond of Americans. Much of this seems to stem from World War II when American soldiers were there. Apparently, they treated the people on the island very well and some even settled there or came back. In addition, the Peace Corps is quite active there.

There are not what you would think of as "proper" tourist stops there if there is such a thing. As you'll see, each thing we viewed on our day long tour was a bit different than the mass crowds and commercialization we are used to in America with our tourist stops. And, we LOVED that!

Our first stop was about 1 minute from the hotel actually. We saw something called the World War II Museum. I couldn't resist asking Sael our driver to stop.

 These are some of the thousands of items in the museum (which was a hut on the side of the road). Basically, there were thousands of bottles, bullets, a lunch tray, etc. There was a little box to leave a coin donation (not sure where that went, but they clearly weren't bringing in a lot of dough in this place).

 Next stop - the American pool from WWII. The Americans dug this hole and cemented it. Ocean water filled it naturally, based on where it was located. It's not used today, but pretty cool it is still there.
 Throughout the 140 km drive (70 or so miles) around the island, we saw lots of jungle, scenery, villages, and farms. It was funny to see this cattle farm with all the palm trees! The beef was excellent there, by the way, due to the grass fed cows and so much available land.
 We stopped at a few villages. Some have signs like this, some don't. They almost all have some sort of a market staffed by some local ladies. We bought a bunch of bananas from this one.

This is the ocean right off the side of the road where two WWII American tanks were in the water. No idea why, but kind of interesting to see them.

This was just a huge, beautiful tree. Sael told us that the wood for this tree was very expensive to buy in carvings and things.

You have to take a close look at this. During the war, the US built the letters U - S - A up in dirt mounds so they could see them at the US air strip here. This is the U. It is the only one you can still see today.

Next stop, Hot Springs in Nasinu. Now, we were told that due to volcanic activity, these natural springs produced healing water and mud. They said you first, roll in the mud pool, then rinse in the second pool, and finally, soak in the resting pool. It was cold outside, but that wasn't the only reason we didn't get in. Very interesting, though! And, they speak French and English on the island, as well as a bunch of local dialects. The common language is English Pidgin, which is pretty funny to read. Part of it is adding blong to lots of phrases. Take a look at the sign below that has English, Pidgin, and French.

Here is the healing mud pool. Would you "get in" this?

Next, the rinsing pool. Dan didn't get in.

Finally, the resting pool. Did I mention they were as hot as hell?!!

This one, I think, was where they are going to build a sauna over it to complete the spa experience - not joking.

And, after spending our whooping $2 each to learn about this (it really was interesting), we met three goats running toward our car!

When we got on the road again, I saw this family of little piggies as we were driving and we slowed down to take a picture - so cute!

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