Visitors Guide L
Lamen is a pretty bay on Epi island, north of Efate. It’s about a 40-minute flight in a small plane to the grass airstrip next to the blue-green water. The snorkelling is terrific, the local people welcoming and the school is also worth visiting (take along a few bits of stationery and you will be very well-received!).
The three most common languages are Bislama, English and French, with linguistic rights actually enshrined in the Vanuatu Constitution. There are also 115 ‘mother tongues’ in common use. It’s not uncommon to hear residents speak a blend of English, French and Bislama in the shops… “Good morning, bonjour, ça va? I gud, merci. Très bien. Tank yu tumas. See you. Allez ta-ta”. Because of inter-tribal marriages, some locals can speak five languages, even though they may have had little formal education.
Lantana is a weed that is also known as Mile-a-Minute. It looks wonderfully jungle-like but it’s not native to Vanuatu. The American soldiers introduced it during WWII for use as natural camouflage for their equipment.
Mmmm yummo!! Yes, a staple part of Ni Vanuatu diet. It’s not for everyone but it’s worth a try or you can make your own (see recipe below). You can buy Lap Lap at the market most days, but please don’t eat the banana leaves. Lap Lap ingredients:
- Coconut milk
- Island cabbage (optional)
- Taro or manioc or cooking bananas
- For something different use a mix of any two above ingredients. Or add sweet potato (kumala) with your manioc.
- Banana leaves for wrapping
Take some manioc or taro and grate to a paste. In a separate dish grate some coconut then squeeze to get the coconut milk. Discard the pulp. Spread some banana leaves into a large square or circle then sprinkle with some coconut milk and add a layer of island cabbage. Pour some more coconut milk over the island cabbage, and then spread a thick layer of the manioc or taro paste. Spread it out and make it smooth. If you want to add meat put a layer of chicken or stew on top.
Finally, top with more coconut milk. For the diet conscious use less coconut milk. Wrap in banana leaves, and put in your ground, rock oven, which you pre heated for one and a half hours with a wood fire before hand. Cook your Lap Lap for half an hour. For a slow cook to produce a dry flavour wrap in double banana leaves and leave over night.
Having your laundry done in resorts is pretty good value but if you want to do your own, there is a laundromat (Pacific Wash and Dry) in the Ballande Centre, opposite Iririki wharf and Ezy-Wash up the street from Mega Mall and Olympic Hotel.
From 1906 until Independence on 30 July 1980, the New Hebrides, as Vanuatu was then called, was a condominium territory, jointly administered by Britain and France.
Each of the administering countries made laws for its own nationals, and jointly made laws for indigenous New Hebrideans and for all other residents. After 1977, Resolutions passed by the elected Representative Assembly, which was established in response to the growing movement for independence, were, when approved by the Resident Commissioners, enacted as Joint Regulations.
Written at the time of Vanuatu’s Independence, the Constitution sets out the basic values and structure of Vanuatu society and has been the basis for all laws made since 1980. Where the Vanuatu Parliament has not passed a law on a particular area, the laws that applied before Independence can still apply.
Customary laws continue to be part of the law in Vanuatu unless they are in conflict with the Constitution or existing legislation.
Visit the Law Library Of Congress for a very detailed rundown of the laws and legal system of Vanuatu.
What’s the difference between a carp and a lawyer? One’s a scum-sucking bottom dweller and the other is a fish. Lawyers in Vanuatu are pretty laid back and have a sense of humour. While there is litigation, many specialise in advice for setting up companies and so on. An example of their attitude to life – the firm Ridgway Blake picked my brain for t-shirts they wanted to wear to a fund-raising golf day along the theme of Lawyers-Liars (a parody of the movie Liar Liar). The t-shirt read:
“You have an excellent case”
(Translation: “We should get two appeals before we lose”)
“Don’t say anything unless we are present”
(Translation: “We are more experienced at lying than you”)
“We are experts in this particular area of law”
(Translation: “I have a large green book, somewhere”)
“I think Nigel is best equipped to handle this one”
(Translation: “Garry plays golf on Wednesdays”)
Can you imagine firms in Australia and New Zealand having such a healthy attitude to their standing in the community? If you need a lawyer for some reason, you can call Garry or Nigel at Ridgeway Blake on (678) 27222.
Lelepa is a small island off Havana harbour. Lelepa Island Day Tours are popular and the waters offer great snorkelling and diving.
Le Lagon Resort & Spa is a family resort with mostly bungalow accommodation (141 rooms) set in sprawling, well-cared for lawns on Erakor Lagoon. It’s rated 4-stars but that could be half a star generous depending on the service and ‘island time’. The rooms are not large, but are comfortable. Each room opens out to a furnished patio or balcony and rooms are air-conditioned with ceiling fans, tea/coffee making facilities, refrigerators, hairdryers, iron and ironing board, mini bar in suites and bungalows, satellite colour TV and in-house movies and IDD telephones.
There’s the Lagoon Terrace restaurant and Wild Ginger (Asian Fusion) as well as swimming pools (one with swim-up bar), children’s pool and BBQ. There are two tennis courts, a 12-hole golf course, petanque, watersports that include kayaks, windsurfers and catamarans, and indoor games like table tennis and 8-ball. There’s a Tour Desk in the lobby, daily activities like pool volleyball, aerobics, food demonstrations and themed nights (Quiz Night, Melanesian Cultural Night etc).
The three bars have different times for ‘Happy Hour’ for those who want to have a ‘cocktail’ crawl. The Kids Only Club (3 to 14 years) caters for young ones each day (free) from 8:00am till around 10:00pm and nightly babysitting (charge) is available. Meal packages are also available for children (kids stay, eat and play free) and there’s also an all-inclusive meal and beverage package for adults. The Day Spa for some massage and pampering is very good.
Wedding packages can be arranged and 2012 saw a lovely lagoon pavilion that works well for a romantic venue for couples to exchange vows, especially if there are invited guests.
Contact us regarding Le Lagon Resort
LE MERIDIEN RESORT
Formerly the Radisson and the Intercontinental, then Le Meridien it is now the Holiday Inn Vanuatu, a fine large resort for couples and families.
LE PISTE BLEU
Oh those crazy French, they’re at it again! Every year they design a rigorous course, (not for the faint hearted) which includes abseiling up and down cliff faces, crossing rivers, and a lot of running up and down many big hills. All in all it’s a muddy, exhausting, and very popular day. Sponsored, organised and manned by the team at Unelco.
This is a great spot for a quick bite, early or late. It’s relaxed and very French. Because the menu hasn’t changed for 30 years we can happily predict that you will be offered lobster, coconut crab, wood pigeon and roussette (flying fox) as well as traditional French fare like escargots a l’ail, filet de bœuf au poivre verte, poire belle Helene and poulet de blanc au citron. They also have great pizza and spaghetti bolognaise (cream based, not tomato).
In a town with supposedly few laws, liquor laws are strictly obeyed and therefore are rarely policed. Many tourists get upset when they pick up a bottle on display after midday Saturday in a supermarket and are refused service. Within Vila, liquor outlets close midday Saturday until Monday. Outside resorts, you can head to the small Felix Store just past the Erakor roundabout and Kormon Stadium (on the road to Tamanu/White Sands) on Saturday afternoons and Sundays for limited beer and French wine. Most bottle shops open until 9:00pm. Underage drinking is not really policed and expat minors may get away with buying alcohol from a supermarket (“just getting it for Dad”).
Locals with a drinking problem have a huge problem because liquor is expensive. However, relativity comes into play because resorts will charge up to three times the price of a bottle from a bottle shop or supermarket. Apart from the supermarkets (Centrepoint, Au Bon Marche, General Store) there are outlets near The Anchor Inn, in centre of town at Cave du Gourmet and D -Dock (near Shell station, opposite Café du Village).
This is a friendly way of saying “see you” in Bislama and may also include “Lukim yu tomorrow”, “Lukim yu bakagen (See you back again) or “Lukim yu long Wednesday” (See you Wednesday).