Saturday, December 1, 2012

Colorful Port Vila, Vanuatu Sept/Oct 2012

Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatu and is taking over as the commercial center from Luganville on Espiritu Santo to the north.  Pt. Vila has such a colorful and complete market; I just loved shopping there for all the fresh produce!
Heaps of local raspberries inthe center were a treat I couldn't pass up.
 Bundles of coconuts and rolls of banana leaves used for cooking.

Yummy yellow cooking bananas.  I bought that bunch on the right and they were perfect!  Saute in a bit of butter and sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg; sometimes I added a drizzle of honey, too.  Like candy for breakfast.  Notice the women sitting/laying behind their offerings.  They stay there, sleeping at night there and leave when they are sold out or the ferry comes to take them home.

Lady finger, cooking and eating bananas by the stalk.

Ladies husking coconuts for drinking and/or eating.

Plastic bags are sold to carry your goodies home in if you didn't bring your own shopping bag.  I always carry at least 2 reusable bags in my backpack and usually have a plastic bag or 2 also.

So much to sell, they put it in the middle of the aisle, too.
Outside, they sell these beautiful flowers for cheap.  Absolutely gorgeous!!

More blooms for sale at the market.

Women shelling nuts and stringing them on the spines of a coconut frond.
They sold ready-made food at the market, too.  Home made dishes served on banana leaves.

This is the woven backpack I bought at the market for about $5 and the skewered lettuce heads that filled it while I continued shopping.  The palm frond spine through the cores of the lettuce heads held them together and they seemed to last for weeks.

No shortage of potatoes--regular and sweet.  Baskets of taro root and potatoes filled a huge section of the floor of the market.  The baskets are woven from palm fronds and are free to carry the goods when you buy them in bulk like this.
An old double-masted schooner and a modern 4-masted superyacht.  They were both anchored near us in the bay at Pt. Vila.

Pt Vila waterfront as you enter the anchorage.  Heading off to the right, you enter the mooring field where most yachties spent their time here.

A huge colorful mural as the wall of the Post Office.

A different wall outside the Post Office.
Tribal ceremonial masks, headdresses and carvings in a shop in Pt. Vila.  All the artifacts came from the island of Ambrym.  These were the most unusual items I think I saw for sale here.  Very authentic but most were made of items that wouldn't clear Customs in our countries.

This headdress was made of formed spider webs, feathers and bark.  Very different.

More masks used for local 'kastom' ceremonies.

A statue of a man in a 'namba' (penis sheath).

More tribal masks from Ambrym.
We spent an afternoon at the Secret Garden, a cultural center and a place with so much to see about Vanuatu, that we all saw something others didn't.  Info overload, but it was fun.
Jason and Karen in a cutout of a czannibal wearing a namba

A photo of women in local tribal costume.  The caption mentions that women come below pigs in consideration of a man's wealth!

A tree face in the Secret Garden.

We were allowed into the cages of the animals here at the Secret Garden.  These fruit bats were so curious that they wouldn't hang still for us to get many photos.  They kept wanting to come sniff my fingers holding the camera.

Fruit bats

Jason holding a Pacific boa.

Karen and Jason with banded iguanas.

Our friend Linda from Chesapeake (and my shopping buddy) with the female and male banded iguanas.  The male has the white stripes.  We had to pluck them off the foliage in their cages to get the shots.

Photo of a cannibal from the early to mid-1900's.

Karen in another cutout of a tribal woman at the Secret Garden.

Karen on tire swing at Secret Garden.

Jason next to a carved tam tam (drum).  We saw lots of these during our visit to Vanuatu and they are used today in most villages to signal gatherings for church or school or for ceremonial dances.  The carving is usually quite good; they are made from a single tree trunk.

Karen with the Pacific boa draped around her neck.

Inside a living hut at Secret Garden.

Photos of the nambas.

Another namba photo.  We actually saw men dressed like this in Luganville at the grocery store.  But usually, they dress like this for ceremonial dances only.  Shorts and t-shirts have become quite popular.

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