When I told people in
We met very interesting people, primarily from
The cruise included a tour of a number of native
villages. I expected charming thatched huts, somewhat sanitized by the continual arrival of cruise ship passengers. While there were a few such buildings, the majority were very run down wood structures, without running water and electricity.
However, one village did have solar panels and a satellite dish for emergency telephone service.
When we arrived at one of the islands, the children were assembled outside their school to perform for the visitors. They did so in return for donations which they could use to buy supplies for their school. While I found it a bit difficult to get over the odours, and general lack of cleanliness, I was overwhelmed by the
kids’ happy faces, and general sense of joy. At dinner that evening, we all agreed that these children certainly seemed much happier than the school kids back at home.
As for kava, it is not alcoholic, but I’m told it has a certain narcotic quality. It was served following a ritual ceremony that
included grinding the natural root of the kava plant, mixing it with water, and straining it through straw and cloth. Some people told me that it would taste like dirty dish water. It’s hard to describe the taste, but it certainly wasn’t as bad as Anne had feared. A spinster teacher at an Australian private Catholic girls’ school, she confided to me that one of her colleagues had warned her the only way to rid your mouth of the taste was to lick a dog’s bum!
Following the cruise, we decided to check out The Pearl, which a guidebook described as a very over designed, contemporary resort, with a Robert Trent Jones golf course. Located in
There are a couple of explanations. One is obviously the coup, and our proximity to
As for the coup, we’re hoping to find out what is really going on, as we set off for