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Sailing with Nine of Cups
Re-glued and sandroing
07 September 2011 | Moored in Port Vila, Vanuatu
Today was our Vanuatu experiment with third world dentists. Marcie's crown came loose and needed to be re-glued into place. We sought out advice from Hillary at the yacht club and made an appointment with Dr. Thalia at South Pacific Smiles...they had a nice color ad in the Yellow Pages....must be good, right? The dentist was located a ways from town and required a bus ride...always an adventure. Mini-vans run continually along the main road and for $150Vt each, we were dropped off right in front of the dentist's office which we found to be modern and well-equipped. The problem was handled in a jiffy. Both the dentist and cost of service were definitely first world.

We went to the Nasonal Miusium Blong Vanuatu...Bislama for Vanuatu National Museum...for the rest of the afternoon. For 700Vt each, we had a private guide named Edgar, who took us through the small, but interesting museum. A most fascinating art form in the northern islands is sandroing (sand drawing) used for illustrating local legends and stories. Edgar hails from the island of Espiritu Santo and demonstrated sand drawing for us on a large tray of beach sand. He began with a tic/tac/toe type of foundation and then, never raising his finger, completed a most intricate, beautiful design in the sand. All the while he was drawing, he told an accompanying story and then sang a traditional song. We've already posted photos on the website. Throughout the museum, he explained local "kastom", traditions, folklore and tabus. Because of Vanuatu's cultural diversity, certain traditions are only maintained on certain islands. The more he explained, the more we thought..."Why are we hanging around here? Let's get going to see it where it's really happening." A few chores, some provisioning and we'll be ready to head out.

We stopped at Au Bon Marche again on the walk home from the museum. We found out the Meat Department has new hours and is closed between Noon-3pm everyday (what?). Luckily, it was open when we arrived. Unfortunately, no chicken breasts today. They had some yesterday, but sold out. They're not sure about tomorrow. Sigh! As we proceed west, we're becoming more and more acquainted with different fruits and veggies. Scanning the aisles at the fresh market or just looking at tinned goods in Au Bon Marche offers lots of new items with which we're unfamiliar or which we've never seen canned before like endives and Brussel sprouts. New fruits include jackfruit, longan, rambutan and toddy palm, all Asian-exotics according to the internet. And being a former French territory, we found haute cuisine baby food ... smushed artichokes! Just no chicken!!!