Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Lighter Side

By the sounds of my posts you would think its all serious and intense here. I think that is just what inspires me to write. The first week here, the peace corp had brought all the volunteers from the outer islands to give them some flu shots and do some training. I met tons of lovely people from all over the US doing really interesting projects in villages across Vanuatu. Living in the villages they had many wonderful insights into the culture that have helped in my work in the hospital. They happened to be here during the superbowl. There is a bar / microbrewery here called the Wild Horse Saloon owned by a couple from Colorado. They have a big projection screen and we had a Monday morning (I am living in the future) USA style super bowl party. Followed by guitar hero sillyness. My mom was wonderful company cooking and doing laundry here, she eased me into the culture shock and helped get through the intense few weeks. We went on tour called the Caloonga cruise. Where we took this 80 foot old sailboat out to a deserted beach accompanied by dolphins. At the beach we did some amazing snorkeling with insanely bright coral and marine fish in a marine sanctuary and then had a barbeque. And yes I ate the beef. After 10 years of being a vegetarian. Adventures in traveling I guess. I also met this lovely Australian fellow who invited me along to a tour in Tanna, the island with the Volcano. We flew over in a Cessna one afternoon and then took this amazing four wheel drive road across the island passing villages of grass huts with kids screaming and waving and women in brightly colored dresses and huge old Banyan trees. We got up there in the late afternoon, it was a bit rainy and foggy, which made it more dangerous cause it is harder to see if the lava rocks are coming at you if it goes big, so we stayed back from the rim at first. As night fell we went over to the rim a bit closer and you could here it go off the smoke coming up would glow red and then lava would shoot out. We sat and watched for a good while and as we were all saying we were over it and ready to go this one dude said one more, lets stay for one more. Well the next one was huge lava came shooting right out of the volcano in our direction. The guide yells for everyone to stand still and only move away if it comes close. Once all the lava hit the ground, the guide tells us its TIME TO GO! As we walked past where we were sitting before there were these two huge glowing hunks of lava rocks. Then as we were driving back home, just 15 minutes later as we came around the back side of the volcano there were two HUGE eruptions that shot lava rocks half way down the backside of the volcano. The back side had a higher rim so they had to be pretty huge eruptions to send lava that far. The guide said we were lucky we weren't still up there. Kinda sketchy. Definitely got the heart racing, but it was amazing to see. You could hear the Volcano rumble all night from the spot where we stayed which was pretty incredible because we were on the opposite side of the island with big mountain range in between.

The Mundane: I get up every morning and have a breakfast of tropical fruit, check my email, then I either head for the hospital to do the day shift or go out for a day adventure to swim and snorkel at some white sand beach and come back to do the evening shift. Somewhere in there I cook some food, stop by the hotel bar to chat with the fun people I meet and have a Richard special. Richard is the bartender here and he makes this amazing cocktail with rum, mint, lime and lychee. When I get back from the hospital I always go for a dip in the pool whether it is 3 in the afternoon or 2 in the morning. Life is not so bad.

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