Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Day Off

On Friday, we spent our morning huddled over our computers yet again, at work on our Senior Papers. Mine is very close to being finished, thank goodness.

Around noon, we wandered downtown, mailed off some postcards to the kids, ate lunch where many of the local people do, at the large produce market:

We wandered through a large school assembly that was taking place near the shore; some kids on stage, others playing in the grass or jumping off the concrete wall into the bay (it looked like they were having insane amounts of fun). The playground set there includes the typical swings and slides and such, and then a slide off the edge of the wall and into the water. Not that the kids looked confined to the slides; play was happening everywhere. Preteens and teens walked around, wearing a set of street clothes under their school uniforms (T and I both wondered, how on earth could they handle that much clothing in the heat and humidity? I guess people can get used to just about anything).

Through a tourist-trap open-air market, where we got some goodies for the kids; as we were looking, the air got thicker and heavier, and women began pulling their merchandise under cover, so we hastened to a nearby cafe, where we waited out the rainstorm with lattes (each of which cost the same as both of our lunches at the market, yay tourist-centric pricing...) under an adequate awning that kept out the rain but was powerless against the humidity.

A slow...easy...way-too-hot-still walk back to our room, where I jumped into the pool as soon as I possibly could and then talked to my family on Skype, which was a lovely experience - the kids were very much into showing off their new musical learning on the piano and ukulele and drum, which was very not the torture it could have been, mainly because they've managed a fair amount of rhythm and it lasted only about 10 minutes and absence makes the heart grow fonder.

I said goodbye somewhat reluctantly, but happily, after our short conversation, and we threw on clothes and headed off for the "Melanesian Feast," which turned out to be a really great experience. Vanuatu is a very diverse country, with many cultures evolving in relative isolation (the reason Bislama is so prevalent here is that a large number of the native languages aren't similar enough to allow good communication), so we saw just one culture's dancing, singing, and food. Perhaps my favorite thing was the kids that were completely allowed to steal the show, and the adults that indulgently encouraged the little ones to sing, dance, and drum along.

We avoided getting rained on, major incidents with insects, cultural inappropriateness from the 4 elderly gentlemen on holiday from Holland (whose major sin so far appears to be stating "basket blong titi" loudly during the bus rides, but oh boy do those men have some embarrassment potential), and got back in time to sleep at a reasonable hour.

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