Worrall Travel R's

Worrall Travel R's
Roz and Russ

Worrall Travel R's - Kicking the Bucket List

My photo

We are the Worrall Travel R's Roz and Russ Worrall. Our goal before we "kick the bucket" is to see as much of the world as we are able, learn about world cultures, experience making friends around the world, and share goodwill and what we learn with others. WE HOPE YOU JOIN US VIA THE BLOG ON OUR TRAVELS.

We started our world travels in 1969 in VW camper van in the USA, Canada, and Europe, but didn't actively blog about our travels until 2009 aboard our sailing vessel SV Worrall Wind, a 44 ft Nauticat Ketch.  On September 5, 2009 we left San Francisco and took a left at the Golden Gate to Explore the World.

From to Sea to Land
After almost 4 years of cruising Mexico and the South Pacific, we sold our beloved boat in Australia, 2013. The Worrall Travel R's are continuing our travels around by many other means of conveyance -boats,trains, planes, sometimes camels, elephants, rickshaws, and hot air balloons.. 

Russ is a retired engineer, optometrist, professor from U.C. Berkeley. Roz is a retired computer programmer/analyst, educator, (teacher, administrator, professional developer). 

Our Mantra:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
~ Mark Twain

Friday, July 15, 2011

Port Vila - The City

Port Vila is a bustling little capital city here in Melanesia.  Tour boats from Australia routinely stop here, disgorging more passengers than there are local residents.  The Lonely Planet tour book is kinder on Port Vila's appearance than we have observed.  It's not a pretty-well kept city, but a duty free pitstop for large cruising boats.   The mural above is of days past or might possibly still be seen in villages in remote islands.  

Today, the men wear western dress and the women are clad in loose fitting, missionary coverups with some island flare, mostly in the way of fluttering scallops reminiscent of grass skirts.  The seamstress business seems to be thriving.  

The city in general is not well maintained (roads, sidewalks, garbage pickup, litter) and pollution from burning and vehicles is thick.  We have heard the same excuse for litter here as we heard in American Samoa.  "The people are used to throwing peels, skins, etc on the ground after eating because traditional foods are biodegradable." thus it's reasonable for them to continue throwing trash on the ground.  Education and incentive is lacking.

What we noticed is that there are few public receptacles for trash and garbage which would be a real encouragement to locals to properly dispose of their trash.   We tuck our garbage in our backpack and often have to walk miles before we can find a legitimate place to drop it.  The locals just toss it on the ground.   Too bad.  Vanuatu is trying to be very accommodating to tourists, but the lack of good trash maintenance is very distracting.
This is the first city that we have been in since French Polynesia where driving occurs on the right side of the road as we are used to it in America.  After driving so much in New Zealand with the steering wheel on the opposite side of the car and driving on the left, the cars and traffic actually looked a little odd to us.  The roads are potholed and in very poor repair.  We read in the local paper here that America has given Vanuatu over 65 million dollars for road maintenance.  The USA built the first road around the island during World War II.  We're curious where the road maintenance dollars are going now, and think our congressional leaders ought to be as well.  Seems odd that America pays for road maintenance here.

The people we have met are generally friendly. We took the walking tour around town and enjoyed the open market and museum the best.  Yams are definitely a staple of the islands.  Food in the grocery stores and restaurants is pretty pricey.  We've eaten out twice for a modest dinner and it has cost us over $50.00 each time.  Two bags of groceries, mostly perishables from the grocery store was $116.00.  So yams look pretty good, especially if you are on a tight budget.  There is a lot of filling nutrients in a yam for the vatu.
Yams in a Basket, 600 Vatu, about $7.00
We loved seeing the cafeteria style lunches being served in the market.  Cooked food was laid out on banana leaf covered tables then wrapped in banana leaves to go.  Ladies with pandanus and bamboo-like switches swished constantly over the food to keep flies from landing.

Chicken on a bed of taro leaves and yams

Meals wrapped in biodegradable packaging

Vanuatu Kava is reportedly more potent here than in any other island country.  We have seen little root, but a lot of powder for sale, probably for tourist consumption more than anything.

 One of the most interesting items for sale were the fruit bats.  Guess they are good to grill and are inexpensive enough for the locals to buy.  The traditional way of preparing them is to stuff them into fat bamboo shoots and grill over an open fire.  Not even sure they are skinned first.

We preferred the French pasteries.  These could definitely be the end to our waistline!
Breakfast - Better than Bats, but appx. $30.00 (6 bats)

While we eat, we enjoy watching the people and reading the local newspaper which is a mixture of English, French, and Bislama languages.  Sometimes you can almost think you understand it.
Our trip to the museum was very informative.  We enjoyed the music, sand art,

Finger is never removed from sand..one continuous line over line.

 artifacts (masks, drums, statues, pottery, baskets, etc.)
and the hour long video of the land diving (original bungie jumpers) in Pentecost.  Unfortunately, we won't get to see that activity in person as the season for this ritual activity has past.  It looks brutal.  Men and boys dive off of high towers with vines around their legs.  The vines are measured to just stop before the men break their necks.

We applied for our Australian Visa's yesterday at the Australian High Commission.  These should be ready for us early next week.  When we have these in hand, we will be leaving Port Vila for northern islands.  A local donor dropped off a lot of school supplies in bags at Yacht World's offices.  We are taking several bags with us to the northern islands when we leave.

Tomorrow, we are taking a tour via a van around the island to see some cultural activities and do some snorkeling.  Hope the weather gets better.  It's been overcast with clouds and smoke since we have been here.  It rained last night.  Hopefully, the sun will come out tomorrow!

All is Well with the 2 Sail R's on S/V Worrall Wind

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