We woke up after another night of broken sleep, which included hearing the bread eating mouse scuttling under my bed with the thought of another long event less day, with the possibility of chewing each other’s arms off for fun being painful. We had pretty much decided and made various attempts to find out whether we could change our flights and head to Port Vila for the last night. We had spoken to Nagate who said he would meet us at 8am so that we could contact the airline. He came to our hut but instead of letting us call he informed us that there was only one flight to Vila and we could not get on it, it’s full. We understood that there were two flights, we had been on the case and Mollie informed us there was in fact a lunch time flight. We went for breakfast, hoping, because we had asked that we would get to use the phone to check. Eventually after much persistence we walked up the hill and Nagate called Air Vanuatu, he never let us speak and basically he told us both flights are full but we are on the waiting list – this puzzled us a bit because we could be on a waiting list but they cannot contact us to let us know if there is space!
We were then offered the earth if we stayed, because we had said we might head to the airport and take our chances! We got offers of a visit to the village and Jon Frum Cargo Cult, let’s see what we can organize for you, complementary massage and free dinner, because after all we couldn’t get a flight so we would need to find accommodation on the other side of the Island. We said we would have a chat and think it over! It didn’t take us long to decide, we packed our bags and we went and paid up what we owed. Initially they didn’t want to take us to the airport, they had an arrival in the afternoon and wanted us to wait so we had to be quite firm, reminding them that we had paid for our transfers and we needed to get to the airport to see where we were at with flights, eventually we were on our way.
We got to the airport and went to the counter and asked can we get on the lunch flight and that was basically a no, we are full. What about the 3 pm flight and immediately we were told yes there is space! So feeling a bit cheated by the manager of the Friendly Bungalows we secured our spots and sat under a tree, we had some wine so we had a few sips, out of the bottle like naughty children in a park. A French guy I had met at the volcano came to get his flight to Tanna so we shared our wine and had a chat. At 1pm we were waved over for the flight and we thought “excellent we are on the early flight,” only to get to the departure door and be told, sorry next flight! They checked our baggage in at this point and then promptly weighed us, again, not a shock this time and then we wandered back to the shaded area. I sat on the seats only for the whole row to fall over, before moving to a more secure seat. We decided it was time to finish off our supplies, tuna for Sarah and tinned spaghetti for me now! Three of the airport guys came to join us, Peterson, Paulo and Phillip. They asked us about the friendly bungalows because we had shared some of the charges, these guys were not happy, they kept saying too much, too much. We found out that a return transfer from Port Resolution was 2,500 vatu, we were closer and charged 8,500 each! Yes there will be a huge complaint, from us, but also the local people of Tanna who were slowly hearing and sharing about the ridiculous charges. Anyway we chatted and Peterson asked if we had heard of Alby Mangles, I said yes and apparently he spent a week with Alby camping on the mountain! Claim to fame or what!
Another Australian couple arrived and the boys headed off, it wasn’t long before we were asked would we like to join them for kava under the Banyan Tree, yep you know it we obliged. Very different this time because we got to see it prepared. The boys chew the kava, it’s then spat onto a banana leaf, rinsed and strained through cloth, a t-shirt on this occasion! We got to do some chewing but they just laughed at our poor efforts, and it tasted minging, serious our lips and tongues were numb and our attempt was worthy of the laughter it brought! We had the first shells prepared, still looks and tastes the same, it doesn’t seem to improve, but this was probably gonna be our last kava so it had to be done!
After chatting under the Banyan Tree, finishing the wine with the people under the tree it was time to go and get ready for the flight and it wasn’t long before we were Port Vila bound. The Australian woman, Kris, had organized us a place to stay, because of course we had nothing planned or organized. The place was right on the waterfront and called Nautilus. Backpacker dorm diving place but fantastic. It is literally on the water front, very clean and comfortable and on the Main Street so handy to everything. Would definitely recommend. I didn’t dive but would definitely come and give this place a go next time I visit.
We had a big night at the waterfront bar. We had a good feed and all reasonably priced before heading off with some people to a nightclub, but it wasn’t long and I was ready for home, so in a taxi and off I went to a nice bed minus Mozzie net and mice, aaaah bliss!