Friday, August 15, 2014

=?ISO-8859-1?Q?=93This is Vanuatu=94?=

We go out to dinner one night with Sandy and Rankin from "Gypsea Heart." They are Texans (of an unusual variety) and we enjoy their company a lot. So we head to this "Texan" restaurant here in Port Vila. It is called the "War Horse Saloon." It features ribs, Tex-Mex dishes and burgers. Plus they brew their own beer. Our waitress, a ni-Van (native of Vanuatu) is Elsie and she, like most ni-Vans, has a great sense of humor. She is using a very hi-tech tablet that she types the order on and it texts it to the kitchen. We comment that that is pretty cool and saves her going to the kitchen. She said, "No I still have to check. This is Vanuatu!"
It was a fun night out and we met the owner, a former Texan and major league baseball player. That's a whole story in itself!

We have had several interesting nights and days out around town. There seems to be regular events – this weekend it's the MicroFinance Trade Fair. There are booths set up in the waterfront park, a stage and we saw some incredible dances and heard some good music. The booths sell tasty food (though we did pass on getting the cooked bats). There are booths from various different islands in Vanuatu selling their oils, baskets, pottery, beautiful wood furniture, carvings, even eggs and vegetables. They are trying to get orders for things from the shops in Port Vila and perhaps even Australia and New Zealand. We get to see some cool stuff, snack on cheap eats and see entertainment. The festival is mostly all Ni-Vans all dressed up enjoying the entertainment.

We celebrated two big birthdays this week as well – Sandy (Gypsea Heart) and Simon (Tuarangi) both turn 50 on the same day next week. So we went out to a lovely Thai restaurant for their special buffet on Thursday night and then back to Astarte that we decked out with balloons and banners for cake and champagne. A fun evening with fun folks.
Today, Friday, is a national holiday – not sure what the celebration is though. But most things are closed. Tomorrow is a big charity event – horse racing. It is supposed to the Vanuatu version of the Kentucky Derby where folks get all dressed up and the horses and jockeys are all local. We may have to go check that out.

We are hoping to get out of Port Vila on Monday – the weather looks good to go south to the island of Tanna. Our friends will also be leaving this weekend to head to New Caledonia during this weather window.

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