Discussion in 'Kava Lounge' started by kasa_balavu, Aug 14, 2019.
18 minutes, wow. This should be some nice in-depth reporting.
Just 30 seconds in, that sounded like Dan McGarry of Vanuatu Daily Post and Buzz 96FM, and holy cow that's Dr. Lebot too!
Thanks for the link. A thorough BBC report. Enjoyed hearing Lebot's thoughts. With the local farmers now getting 400% more for their product than just a few years ago, life in the rural areas must be much better.
They were saying that Vanuatu doesn't have a well-developed tourism industry. Any ideas on why that would be?
Infrastructure and advertising.
Overall this is a good, positive report. The deeply negative parts (seem to me) to be more about people who would have problems with any form of substance abuse and/or addictive traits. It is easy for some people to abuse anything or anyone. To others it never crosses their mind.
It is important to put things in the right context. Prior to kava bars, young men of Port Vila consumed spirits. According to all available reports, it was mayhem.
As for people abusing kava, there are certainly some who enjoy drinking a bit more than perhaps they should in the context of their family responsibilities . But the stories about men/women prefering kava bars to family home never consider the possibility that perhaps some people's families are in crisis and have deeper issues from which the social kava circles provide some kind of escape.
Most of the negative stories are driven by a deeper agenda and are often linked to a local church's propaganda. We all have been drinking kava for a while and surely we must be a bit skeptical and critical of the stories suggesting that kava makes people abandon children or turn to prostitution in order to "buy a shell". It's simply ludicrous.
Yes, I had not thought about the potential for propaganda from Church groups. That has been brought up before and when I think back to the BBC story it seems to fit. I hope I did not imply kava can inspire abuse or prostitution, etc. Not my intent.
No, you did not. The person interviewed by the BBC did.
It's FAR. You can find affordable flights from Fiji, NZ and Australia, but for the rest of the planet you have to go to one of those 3 places first on your way to Vanuatu.
And for overseas tourists bouncing thru Fiji, one they get there, they're already in the beautiful South Pacific, in a country with more services that cater to tourists.
P&O cruises sends a turisbot (cruise ship) that calls at several spots in Vanuatu. It's the usual cruise scenario: 1000+ people pile off the ship and spend one day sightseeing and buying souvenirs, then they're off to the next port.
Sometimes yachtie doctors and dentists will visit the outer islands as a working holiday, which provides much-appreciated medical care in rural areas. But in general, the bulk of tourism centers around Santo, Vila, and wherever the turisbot calls (basically: Aneityum, Tanna, Vila, Walarano, Luganville Santo, and Port Olry and sometimes south Pentecost)
Makes a lot of sense! It's up to Vanuatu if they want to get more tourists but it's another story to make it happen if they do. Infrastructure can't just pop up overnight. I have a lot of trip ideas but a lot of them are very involving and could be out of my comfort zone, Vanuatu possibly falling in this category. But having grown fond of kava the past couple years, visiting Vanuatu may be worth a visit. Some day...!
The Wantok Environment Centre has a travel guide at http://positiveearth.org/bungalows/index.htm Some of the info may be out of date, though the general ideas are correct.
Vila and Santo have modern western style hotels with all the amenities. Villages near regional airports and along truck routes almost always have guest houses that are quite affordable, though truck transportation in those areas can be expensive for foreigners.
Some places charge a kastom fee to enter their land, usually around $10-$15. Other more remote places wouldn't dare to ask for money, and gladly offer food and housing to the rare backpacker. It sort of depends on how close they are to towns/roads/airports. Out in the dark bush it used to be that locals had no use for cash and it never occurred to them to ask for that sort of payment. With the receipt of hospitality, there is always the implication that some day it may be repaid, and that was enough.
Inter-island flights are discounted if you have a ticket for an international flight out of the country. But be careful to make it to your flight home on time. The domestic air travel network runs on island time. The boats, doubly so.
One nice thing about travelling by boat between islands: you'll be stuck on a boat with a bunch of locals for hours or even days. Inevitably you will storian with them and may be invited back to someone's home. Or at least, you can get all the latest information.
Kava and seasickness are a bad combination. Eat ginger. Keep a view of the horizon or stars. Bring antimalarials and scope-patches for motion sickness if you're going way out there.
@kastom_lif This sounds like quite an adventure! You describing the boat trips made me want to go even more. I'm not all fond of getting stuck on a boat but getting stuck on a boat with people would make it much better. I have to wonder how quickly I'd bore them talking about tea and video games. Talking about the far-flung communities where you give physical goods as gifts, gift ideas really jog the mind. I like to think I give good presents but...
Gift-giving in kastom villages can be awkward sometimes. If you favor only a few people, you could risk the rest becoming jealous. There are a few safe bets, though. Presenting a gift to the chief allows him or her to distribute it as they see fit. Or in less strictly kastom areas where skul is tolerated (meaning school, but also church to some extent), books and writing materials for the children is a fine idea.
Payment for things like truck rides and lodging is pretty much always cash and not subject to the above concerns. If there's a truck and a road to drive it on, they're part of the cash economy.
Thanks for the great info and advice @kastom_lif. I'm filing it all away for the trip I really have to take sometime soon. It's been on my "must do by the end of the year" list for a few years now.
Almost sounds like I'd be best off asking someone in Port Vila if they know what specific islands like and what to bring. Might be hard to procure the best gifts once you're there. Off the top of my head, I was thinking a bunch of shirts. Some old clothes (clean of course!) and maybe packaged food that can be easily shared. Maybe some kind of memento, but depending on the memento, it could be hard to share with everyone. >=?
You probably can't go wrong with mobile phone data top-up cards. Only problem, is whether to get TVL or Digicel.
Or if all else fails, buy some rounds at the nakamal.
Most people I tell kava about don't know or never heard of Vanuatu before in their life
In New Zealand most people know where Vanuatu is (it's just 2h away from here), but most associate kava with Fiji. That's where most tourists go and that's where 99% of the kiwis have tried their first (and usually only) kava. This is why kava is unpopular in NZ. Everyone who's tried it, did so in some resort in Fiji, often after 20 beers.
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