Our time in Vanuatu is coming to an end and we understand now why many of our cruiser friends spend an entire season in this surprising country, and some return again and again. We have given it short shrift and wish we had time to visit more than just the most southerly islands, but we’ve been captivated by the people, the language, the art and culture. Our first impression when we arrived was that the Ni-Vanuatu people are more reserved than the exuberant, outgoing Fijians, and while that’s certainly true, they are no less friendly and generous, patient and kind. We had many warm and enlightening conversations with local folks in the course of our daily wanderings and learned something about their lives, the challenges they face at home and as a country, and their hopes for the future. We’re grateful for these personal contacts and we think Mark Twain said it best:
…nothing so liberalizes a man and expands the kindly instincts that nature put in him as travel and contact with many kinds of people.
– Letter to San Francisco Alta California, dated May 18th, 1867; published June 23, 1867
On the day before we checked out of the country we walked through Port Vila one last time and made a last trip to the vibrant market. We’ll miss this place for sure.