Flew to Auckland arriving 6pm. Jennie Tiers met us and took us to our hotel and then out for dinner. Not a lot of sleep as up at 4:30am to go to airport.
Flew to Port Vila-3 hours. Hot and humid! Debbie and Troy met us and Troy took us to Mele Village. This is the largest village in the whole of Vanuatu--3000 people. Here we stay in the chiefs area in a huge house which is very clean and has electricity. Much flasher than the rest of the houses in the village. We are treated like royalty! Awesome meals are prepared for us.
Troy is an ex MLB player from Texas (played for Oakland Raiders) and now owns Erakor Island Resort. After settling in for an hour another American-Doug-picks us up in his big Chevy Suburban and drives us to a resort called Club Ippique. We spend the afternoon here having a beach vball fundraiser. So we play beach and east a BBQ and swim in the lagoon. It rained real heavy tropical showers too. Meet a lot of ex-pats. Then back to Mele for a cold shower (no hot water at all) and dinner. Met Sara from USA is working with the Peace Corp on the island fo Pentecost. She's really cool and can speak the local gibberish-Bislama (a mixture of bad English and French!) so makes a great guide! It gets dark at like 7pm and light at 5am so we go to bed at like 9am.
Awaken by roosters at 5:20am. I doze off some until Anna and Bella wake me again at about 7am. Its hot and sunny already so up for a cold shower and off to breakfast. French toast and bread and jam and sweet ripe bananas. After breakfast we catch the bus into town. Buses are just Toyota Hiace vans that work kinda like taxis but with set fares. Danny is our driver-he plays soccer for Mele and knows Batram, Clifford and Mike Fifi! Sara shows us around Port Vila, its much hotter and sunnier and stickier today! After lunch at a cafe (where Anna and Bella find grubs crawling in their muesli!) we go on a ferry across to an island about 400 metres of the mainland. Its Irariki Island Resort. Here we get fruit punch and swim in the pool and live it up for the afternoon. 4pm and Danny picks us up again and takes us back to the village. We meet other athletes arriving and then have an official welcoming ceremony. We are given lays to wear and the chief makes a speech, we drink Kava (yuk!) and have a huge meal. The hut we eat in is all decorated and again we are treated like royalty. 9pm-another cold shower and off to bed with the fan on full. I can see 2 geckos on my ceiling tonite!
Woken at 2:30 am by roosters crowing again! They crow all day and night--weird! Today me and the girls went to Breakers resort and swam and lay out again. It has a really nice pool and and a white sandy beach. I walk further down the beach to where they are diggin out sand for the new beach vball courts in town. They had got the loader stuck so I had a go but got it stuck too! The beach had plenty of rubbish on it--cans right down by the waters edge! Everywhere we went there was rubbish--no one seemed to care about rubbish bins. Back to town for lunch and Anna threw up in a garden on the main street! Anna and Bella went home to rest and I hung out with Sara.
Tournament sposed to start today! But the sand is still not spread on the new courts. The loader driver has no idea what we want so finally they let me in the loader and I spread the sand, we get the nets up and the Minister of Sports officially opens it. Got an interesting picture of Vanuatu time and how things work or don't work today. Sara decides to come over to NZ for our pro tour and Ory (my Israeli partner) is thinking about it too. Had a decent earthquake tonite! Also met McKenzie today-real name Mehlon?
Girls played today-lost 1 won 1. Anna struggled with no energy from being sick. Real hot today but got more rain too. Weather changes real quickly. Spent $71 NZ on juice, powerade, muesli bars, chocolate and giant snakes-prob about $30 worth back in NZ! Ory took us out to dinner at the Waterfront--I had real nice BBQ ribs! Mehlon and Kelion hang out with us more--they are twins-12 years old and really good at volleyball. Real cute cool kids and really bright and fun.
Friday 1 December
Left the village today. I played 2 games with Ory winning both to advance straight to the semis. Went to Mele Cascades-- a nice waterfalls. Then moved to our new accommodation Erakor Island Resort. This is a really nice resort--just take a short ferry ride across to it. We stay in a dorm style room block. Sara comes over for dinner at the restaurant which overlooks the lagoon and is very nice. Early to bed but I'm starting to get the runs and so is Bella!
Still got runs but feel OK so eat a good breakfast. Girls feel much better too. Semis and the girls play first but I need a toilet so I miss most of their first set. They don't play so well and lose. Then I play and win first set before my stomach begins to feel really bad. I end up hardly being able to move and lose the game. Then I collapse on the ground with pain and finally make my way to a disgusting toilet at the soccer stadium where I stay for about 30 minutes! I feel very weak and sick but after drinking water and resting begin to feel ok again. Watch all the finals--there are some very good men's teams here. Back to Erakor for showers before the awards presentation at the Wild Pig Bar. I win best male setter and Bella wins best female setter. Then we go to Shooters on back of Ory's Hilux. Everyone just climbs on the back of trucks day or night and drive like crazy around the city. Ory can be a maniac driver! There is no speed limits posted anywhere and road rules are look out for yourself! We only saw 1 police vehicle our whole time there and that was us passing it in an 11 seater Hiace with 14 people in it not wearing any seatbelts! Shooters was no good so took Anna, Bella and Darryn (Aussie ref) back to Erakor ferry and then Ory, me, Sara and her friend Melissa went to a house party. Mostly frenchies there and Troy and some others. Then we all decided to go to Yellow Submarine bar in town. Walked up the hill to Ory's truck where we saw a young guy lurking about. Looked suspicious so as he walked off I yelled out "Oy". He ran off and then we realized Ory's truck window was smashed and they had tried to remove the stereo. I chased but he had disappeared already. Went to town and danced in this club. Again most there were French and a lot of the guys either were gay or appeared gay. I wasn't that comfortable in there!! One guy in particular was quite disturbing--about mid 40's and wearing tight as jeans pulled right up with t-shirt tucked in and his dance moves just made us laugh and then feel sick!! He only seemed to want to dance with other men too. Freaky. Got back to Erakor Island about 4am-lucky the ferry runs 24 hours.
7am and Bella wakes me--I've had about 3 hours sleep. Pack up and off to the airport to fly home. It's been an incredible week and I really hope to return next year for some more "island time". I would love to go to some outer islands and see more of this country.