Visitors Guide X
Christmas in the tropics can be a wonderful experience, although a very different one to those used to cold or white Christmases. Having said that, one of the weird things is that the street and shop decorations draw on just that. Everywhere you will see Santa in his red suit and ‘snow’ flakes in the windows. Some expatriates go for the traditional baked turkey, ham etc but the climate is better suited to cold meats, salad and seafood.
There is a Carols by Candlelight service on the harbour front and the trees and main street becomes awash with fairy lighting. One Christmas, we hosted lunch for ten adults and twelve children. We ate outside, on the lawn, with a selection of cold pork, ham, prawns, lobster, fish and salads. After lunch, the adults played petanque while the kids frolicked, swimming and canoeing in the lagoon. Lunch leftovers turned into dinner and before you could say, “knock off the singing, go home, it’s midnight” it was, well, midnight.
Okay, this may be a bit of an excuse to whack something under ‘X’, but just a bit on censorship/pornography laws. While Vanuatu has a relaxed attitude on the whole, it is still extremely conservative and pornographic videos and magazines are not allowed – even a tame version of Playboy.
There are some R-rated movies available in video shops but they will be in the category of those that appear on Australian and New Zealand television preceded by the appropriate warnings. The raciest magazines are Cosmopolitan for women and FHM or Ralph for men. There is, however, a small black-market trade, as there is for most things that are banned.
There is an X-Ray machine and operator at the hospital but visitors are far better off not breaking anything as it can really detract from a holiday or, worse still, cut it short if you need to leave the country for treatment.