Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Where in the World is Vanuatu?

Vanuatu is an archipelago about 1000 miles east of Australia, which makes it an easy destination for Aussies and New Zealanders. They make up the majority of tourists there, by far, because it's an easy 2-3 hour flight for them. We didn't meet any other Americans during our five day stay, even though I hear that more Americans are visiting ever since "Survivor: Vanuatu" aired in the US. Matt and I knew absolutely nothing about this place before we booked our trip, but now I think it is a really fascinating little corner of the world. Vanuatu has only been an independent nation since the 1980's, and before that it was ruled jointly by the British and the French. That made life really confusing for a hundred years or so, but things seem to be sorted out beautifully now.

Port Vila

That's the capital city, Port Vila, on the main island of Efate. There are something like 80 islands in the archipelago, some of them uninhabited, and only a small handful have any kind of tourist infrastructure. Port Vila is a good-sized town, actually it's really the only town. The locals call everyplace else a "village." We stayed our first two nights at a place on the little island you can see in the harbor up there.

Here's the ferry coming to collect us to take us to the hotel on that island across the way. The boat ran between the resort and the mainland at any hour. You could summon it from the other side by stepping out onto the dock.

Iririki Ferry

Iririki Dock


This is the Iririki Island Resort. We had a little one-room bungalow that I loved. Following in my tradition of blogging hotel bedscapes, I offer you these. Actually, I loved the decor, and could not get enough of those bed sconce lights (which dimmed, perfect!), and the cute throw pillows everywhere. I believe, if you liked it then you shoulda put a pillow on it. (Except for on the actual bed itself. Odd, no?)

Our Bungalow

Iririki Bungalow

The view from our little porch. At night the sound of the water was lovely.

From Our Porch

This was kind of the plush part of the vacation. (The other part, to be shared in a future post, was more like mosquito nets and no ice cubes. I loved that part even more.) But for now, it's mai tais at the Bali Hai pool!

Mai Tai Slushy!


Here's a view back to Port Vila from the pool. This was the "no kids" section of the resort, just for mama and daddy time, don't you know, and it was a relaxing place any time of the day. We sat here and read a lot. We ate ridiculously huge meals in the adjacent restaurant. Like, crepes-set-on-fire at your table ridiculous. One night we came to the pool bar at last call, and sat down by the water until midnight, watching the harbor.

View of Port Vila

There are newer and bigger resorts in Port Vila, but I loved this location. Watching the water and the boats never got old. The town was just a three-minute ferry ride away, but we felt like we were on our own little Fantasy Island. And here's my Ricardo Montalban.

He Likes Pina Coladas

I'd ordered a beer on this occasion, and the waitress set down the tall fancy drink in front of me instead of Matt, then we corrected her, then we all laughed. He's sipping defiantly in this photo.

Okay, is anyone still scrolling besides my mom? I'll stop now! But there will be more, because we did do stuff besides drink and laze around, I think.


Amy said...

I scrolled! Dude, we gotta go there.

And real men can order girly drinks with flowers in them. Go, Matt!

Coffee with Cathy said...

Becky -- Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this with us. Ever since "Survivor" was there, I've wanted to check it out -- and I have through your post. What a great spot for some couple-alone time. Love it!

Jenni said...

looks like paradise!

The Dental Maven said...

Very cool.

Anonymous said...

I want to go there! It looks fabulous.

Carrie said...

Sigh. I LOVE places like this. My dream trip -- which we stupidly failed to take before kids -- has been Australia or New Zealand and then Tonga. Hard to put together a continuous flight for it, though -- which I always wanted to do to get the best frequent flyer miles deal. Now I think they've changed the FF program to eliminate the free stopover so it's moot anyway.
Love the Cryptic Tshirt too! I'm not the only one married to a man most comfortable in duds he got free at work.

Veronica said...

I scrolled! Dude, that place is filled with awesomeness of all kinds.

Jane said...

That looks so far beyond fabulous I can't imagine why you ever left!

Sara said...

Oh man! How totally fabulous! How do you find these places??
...I'm still laughing about your sipping pictures. Seems to have nicely summed up your visit there!

Loving these posts of your travels. Educational *and* entertaining.

Keely said...

Oh. migod. I'm so jealous. I didn't really follow that Survivor, but now I totally want to go there. That is possibly the cutest little hotel room ever!

Michele Renee said...

When you first mentioned Vanuatu I knew I'd heard it on a Survivor but I didn't watch it. Love the photos. And before I read about Matt getting the froufrou drink I said to myself--look, he has a pina colada! That's like when my hubs orders a salad and I get the meat. Your drink looks fab too.

Michele said...

That pool is fantastic! Now, I just have to go there. Drinking and eating my way through a vacation is usually my goal.

That drink doesn't make Matt any less studly. LOL!

Anonymous said...

It is good indeed to be married to a man confident enough in his masculinity to be the only one at the table with an umbrella drink.

LOVE the pool, LOVE the whole place. GAWD, I wanna be there. Right. Now.

la_table_francaise said...

Beautiful place!

Bonnie said...

Hi Becky -- that was me. Just used the wrong google account...