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Last day Sunday, 16 May 2010

Posted by Ian Cole in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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Saturday was our last full day here in Vanuatu. The weather was crap, constant rain again. Se we spent much of the day of sitting around reading and watching TV – some bizarre Sci Fi channel movie starring James Brolin as an ocean salvager in the future when the oceans have risen hundreds of feet. Amazingly all the buildings in all the cities remained intact despite now being under the ocean.

Later in the afternoon we headed over to the Anchor Inn for a few Tuskers, then to the Flaming Bull Steakhouse for our last dinner. Happily tanked on Tuskers we wandered up to the casino for a while, then back to Iririki for a nightcap.

Now we’re checked out and sitting in the Bali Hai bar having a couple of Tuskers while we wait for time to leave to head to the airport. Ross Wilson is performing here this afternoon – yes, the Ross Wilson of Daddy Cool/Mondo Rock fame. We’ve seen him around the resort a few times over the last few days.

And now the fucking sun is coming out for the first time in days!

So that’s about it until he next holiday. We’ll be adding some photos when we get home.

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All good things… Sunday, 16 May 2010

Posted by Ian Marks in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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So I’m sitting here in the Bali Hai Bar and Cafe for the last time (this trip) enjoying a Tusker.  Our time here at Iririki Resorts and Spa has come to an end.  Its raining but still very warm.  Despite some serious flaws in service and maintenance this place is just amazing.

This morning started with a bad hangover as a result of sitting in the Anchor Inn, having steak at the Flaming Bull and spending far too much time in the Grand Casino last night.  It was a really nice way to spend our last night here in paradise.  There’s a mist over the mountains again today but the airport looks clear so we’ll probably be able to leave.

This holiday was everything I expected and this is truly one of the most beautiful and unspoilt places in the world.  The people and sights are just amazing, every corner opens to another beautiful scene filled with happiness the likes of which I have never seen before.

It is with a sense of disappointment and regret that I have to now leave.  But be assured I shall be back to enjoy the tropical wonderland.

And as the saying goes: All good things must come to an end!

Snorkeler’s cove Saturday, 15 May 2010

Posted by Ian Cole in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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After the around the island tour on Thursday yesterday was a quiet day. And the weather was overcast. In the morning I went over to Vila to get some gifts and supplies from Au Bon Marché.

Back to Iririki we headed down to Snorkeler’s Cove, a good snorkeling spot on the other side of the island. I went out while Ian stayed behind to watch. Visibility wasn’t too far due to the weather, but I did get to see lots of lovely coloured fish and huge coral outcrops.

After that it was back to the Sunset pool for a Tusker at the swim-up pool bar, followed by the usual drinks at happy hour in the Bali Hai bar, then dinner at the Watermark Restaurant.

This morning it’s fucking raining!

Sorry there aren’t any photos yet. I tried to upload some yesterday but the broadband wifi connection here couldn’t cope 😦

Around Efate Friday, 14 May 2010

Posted by Ian Marks in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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Yesterday we took and around the island bus tour.  This meant that for he first time since arriving we had to be out of bed and active at 6:30am – bit of a struggle when we’ve been waking up hours after that!

So we boarded our mini-bus and headed off.  A very nice guide talked us through various sites around Port Vila before heading out into the country.  The thing to know is the “country” is about a 10 minute walk from the heart of Port Vila, so we were in the country very quickly.  After a stop for morning tea and a look around at a blue lagoon, we arrived at the village.

The village was a tiny village and we were greeted in traditional style by James, the chief and some of his warriors.  We then spent the next few hours wandering around, chatting and doing some activities.  It was one of the most enjoyable experiences I’ve had in a long time.  It was so personable and enjoyable I could have spent more time there.  James and Mary were wonderful hosts with the whole tribe working to make the experience of these 6 white folk lots of fun.

So we left the village and headed off to our last stop and a swim in the ocean.  I can now say I have been to Vanuatu and swam in the ocean.  Given my concerns with things that live and swim in the ocean it was no mean feat!

And today… not sure.  The weather is not the best today but it may warm up enough to lie by the pool and enjoy a Tusker or 2.

Buggy fun Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Posted by Ian Cole in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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Monday night was the General Manager’s cocktail party and welcome buffet, as many people arrive over the weekend. The GM introduces the various resort department managers and local tour operators promote their tours – sightseeing tours, fishing trips, diving expeditions, parasailing, etc. Tickets were given to all guests for a chance to win two for one offers on various tours, and we won for the Buggy Fun Adventure tour on Tuesday afternoon!

So after a quick wander in to town and a quick refreshing dip in the pool we were taken to the buggy rental office to get our buggies. Surprising the tour started in Vila, so we had to drive through town to get to the jungle, which was surprising and a little scary!

But once we got out of town the tour was lots of fun. Driving our own buggies (there were five couple in convoy) we headed off through a bit of jungle, through a few villages and down to our first stop on a black sandy beach. then on to our next stop for some refreshements. The third leg took us through the most adventurous part, down some verywet,  muddy tracks through jungle and then a cattle plantation. The tour guide says you will get muddy and they were right, except for one French couple who remained remarkably clean.

Finally we headed back in to town, driving the buggies right up the main street of Vila! Back to the office, then back to the resort to shower and unwind at happy hour. A fab fun day!

Today’s weather looks like a good pool day. I’m off!

Anchors away Monday, 10 May 2010

Posted by Ian Cole in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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Sunday the weather was awful. Constant, unending grey rain. So we took the ferry into Vila and had a quick stroll up the main drag, which was very busy with tourists from the cruise ship that was in port.

We ended up at the Anchor Inn on the edge of “downtown” Vila. A great spot by the water looking out to the harbour and Iririki Island. The pub has changed a lot in the almost three years since we were last here. Gone is the sand and marquee tent, replaced by wooden decking and a huge wood frame with thatched roof. Also gone is the view from the men’s room looking straight out to the bar area while you’re having a pee! Lots of tourists from the ship there being rather obnoxious, but the place is big enough to be able to ignore them.

Back to the resort we had to change fares after a part of the bathroom floor had collapsed. We moved from fare 70 to 34. Not such a great view – we’re looking out to a path and the back of the next row of fares – but the chairs on the balcony are much more comfortable and the air con doesn’t sound like a truck is driving through the room!

A fairly quiet night after that with happy hour Tuskers at the Bali Hai bar and a small dinner and mojitos, then back to the fare for a nightcap.

Today the weather is better, but still overcast and hinting at rain. I took a trip into town wandering through a few of the shops and to get a few supplies from Au Bon Marché supermarket. And now we’re having a couple of Tuskers relaxing by the pool.

Oh how indulgent! Monday, 10 May 2010

Posted by Ian Marks in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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So today the weather has improved.  Still overcast but not raining.  So after a relaxed breakfast and a couple of hours of reading we’re now sitting by the pool enjoying our first drink of the day.

So here I sit with laptop on the sun lounger typing away updating our travel blog.  It is hard work but someone has to do it!

Vanuatu so far… Sunday, 9 May 2010

Posted by Ian Marks in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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So here we are in sunny? Port Vila, Vanuatu.

After the first few days of very nice weather we’re having our first wet day. Probably not a bad thing as we’ve both got a little sunburn and a day out of the sun is probably not a bad idea!

Yesterday at the family pool was surprisingly nice as there were very few children and obliging staff bringing us food and drinks in our palm shaded grotto. We’ve sampled all four restaurants/cafes on the island and they are amazingly different. Last night we ate at the premier restaurant Michener’s which was disappointing. They’ve tried to be an international restaurant in a location where the range of ingredients is not available so they survive on frozen food to compliment what is available locally. If they stuck with what can be sourced locally (and there is some amazing produce to be had) it would be a much better experience for the diner.

But you cannot have a bad word to say about the service. Not the quickest in the world but everything does operate on island time which is very relaxed and actually a very nice breath of fresh air. Our waiter last night Thomson made a mistake on one of our orders. He was so upset at the mistake but didn’t know how to handle the situation so just disappeared until the correct meal was ready. He did make up for it by preparing some very theatrical Crepe Suzette at our table complete with dimmed lights for the flowing, flaming Drambuie.

So relaxed now and the sun is over the yard-arm so maybe its time for a little drinkie…..

Fly and flop Sunday, 9 May 2010

Posted by Ian Cole in The Ians on Tour, Vanuatu 2010.
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Here we are in Vanuatu for our biannual fly and flop holiday. Fly in, flop down and relax!

We’re staying at Iririki Island Resort and Spa in Port Vili Harbour, just a short ferry ride to the town. The resort is lovely, with accommodation in a selection of fares (far-ay), hotel rooms and apartments. We’re in a fare of course, with a balcony overlooking the gardens and main restaurant/bar/pool complex. There are four restaurants/cafes/bars and two pool areas, all set  in gorgeous tropical gardens.

We arrived on Thursday afternoon to sunny humid weather with a couple of very quick passing showers. After changing into shorts and sandals  we headed straight down to the Bali Hai Bar (as we are wont to do) for a few Tuskers. Happy hour came and we enjoyed a few frozen cocktails. Combined with the lack of sleep from getting up so early for the flight we got a little silly and after a quick meal we headed into town to the casino. Perhaps not the wisest decision…

Friday after breakfast and a walk around the island we found a nice shady spot by the pool in the main complex (no children under 12 allowed!) for a morning into afternoon of swimming, a few Tuskers, lunch and then back to the fare for a nap before happy hour and dinner. Saturday followed  pretty much the same pattern except we tried out the other pool area, which is much larger and offered much more poolside shade. And it has a swim-up bar!

Now it’s Sunday, our third full day, and it’s pissing down rain, which of course has pushed the humidity waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay up. Everything feels damp! Still, it’s not cold. It’s been an excuse to not do much but we’ve finally figured out internet access. There is a P&O cruise ship in so apparently all thes shops in town are open. We’ll see where the day takes us.