Visitors Guide W
‘Waet smol’, in Bislama, literally means ‘wait small’, which is a term used to say, ‘wait a minute’, ‘be patient’, ‘hang on’, ‘wait your turn’. It can even mean ‘be quiet’. It’s a great phrase for keeping kids in their place. Love it.
WAN SMOL BAG
Wan Smol Bag (‘One Small Bag’ and also known as two words, ‘Wan Smolbag”) is an indigenous theatre group that produces plays and drama, often to increase awareness about social issues like HIV/AIDS, corruption and domestic violence.
The name comes from when it was a travelling theatre group and all the props were produced from ‘one small bag’.
It’s a creative cooperative and operates on a shoestring from a theatre to the left of the roundabout on the road to Mele. It’s a very worthwhile and creative outfit. Visit the website at www.wansmolbag.org.
Wan tok (‘one talk’ in Bislama) is basically ‘family’. The wan tok system means you look after your own. If you earn, you share, if someone needs help, you’re there. With no pensions, the elderly are cared for and children may be raised by wan tok relatives. The only time it doesn’t work is when government officials and the like look after their wan tok by employing them as drivers or whatever to cash in on the public purse (but then again, they are family!).
The urban water supply is safe to drink and bottled water is also readily available. Don’t be put off if there are a few small white lumps at the bottom of your cup. There is a lot of calcium in the water, which will do no harm. Because it’s ‘hard’ water, it’s probably better for you than most drinking water but can be unforgiving on your clothes after a few washes.
The romance of the tropics… surely there can be no more perfect place to make a commitment to a future with your partner. Whether you are marrying for the first or subsequent time (or re-affirming your vows) it is a simple process and a relative ‘bargain’. You get the ceremony for a fraction of the cost you would pay at home and you’re already at your honeymoon destination. What you have to do…
You need to notify the relevant authorities about a month before. (We can do this for you). You need to fill out a notice of intention to marry and provide copies of birth certificates, divorce papers if applicable, and passport details. (Also see our Weddings Vanuatu site)
The Lord Mayor of Port Vila (or a qualified celebrant) conducts the civil ceremony and this is an example of what you could get in a Vanuatu wedding package:
- Wedding coordination
- Marriage Certificate
- Pator or Celebrant
- Witnesses for ceremony
- Decorated Wedding Hut
- Floral leis and crown for both bride and groom
- Warrior blowing conch shell to signal arrival of the bride
- Champagne or Coconut Cocktails for the bride and groom after the ceremony
The cost for such a package, around AUD$1500.
If you would like obligation and cost free advice on a wedding that would suit you, check out Vanuatu Resort Weddings.
Wet weather can be part of the tropics and sorry, if it happens, it can make for an ordinary holiday. Usually, if it’s sunny in the morning, your day will be fine. If you do cop a rainy day though, there are a few things you can do (surprisingly no-one has come up with organised wet weather tours). Here are a few suggestions. Take in a bit of local culture – head to the markets and the museum and Cultural Centre. Check out the shops, handicraft places and art galleries. Drop into another resort. The water stays warm despite the rain and there are undercover bars poolside at Le Lagon and the Holiday Inn.
WHITE GRASS OCEAN RESORT
White Grass is the upmarket accommodation choice on Tanna. It’s still a bit basic but offers comfortable bungalow accommodation and a good restaurant despite the limited menu. There’s some excellent snorkelling nearby, lovely ocean views and a swimming pool. It’s near the airport on the opposite side of the island to the volcano (about 2 hours across in 4WD). If you plan to visit the volcano more than once, accommodation near Mt Yasur may be more suitable. The White Grass volcano safari goes via White Grass Plains to see the wild horses and gets to the rim of the volcano by sunset so you see the eruptions in daylight and dark. There are other worthwhile tours and attractions for those wanting more than an overnight stay.
Contact us regarding White Grass Ocean Resort
‘Widow Strangling’ was a gruesome practice once carried out, especially by the natives of North Efate. It also happened in Fiji and Papua New Guinea. The tradition apparently stemmed from the belief that the man shouldn’t be deprived of his wife in the afterlife but the reasons may have been cultural as well as spiritual. Widows weren’t particularly valued as they no longer had a role (caring for their man), were seen as another mouth to feed and could become a temptation to men already married. It’s one of the few customs where women were (eventually) pleased to see the intervention of Christianity. One missionary, John Geddie (on Aneityum) managed to put a stop to widow strangling, but it took some time, much to his dismay – grieving women insisted on their right to die with their spouses. This could have been a combination of being accustomed to seeing it done, and grieving to be with the one they had lost. Curiously, the ‘honour’ of doing the strangling was given to the woman’s brother or, if there was no male sibling, her eldest son.
Traditionally Vanuatu is a male dominated society but there are groups who lobby towards an equality of status, parliamentary representation etc.
Unlike some parts of the world, there’s no way visitors can arrive and hope to find bar work to subsidise part of their holiday. The issuing of work permits isn’t done lightly and usually will only be given to people who are filling a role that a local person couldn’t (example, a teacher’s job may require current Australian or New Zealand qualifications or a resort manager several years experience in a similar position).